Our First Piglets

We got our first piglets yesterday. They are not pets… they are all destined for the freezer in a few months so we cannot get emotionally attached.

They each weigh about 25 pounds and all fit into the same large dog kennel to give an idea of their current size. We expect them to reach 250 pounds each in about 3-4 months.

One is for our table, the remainder have already been sold.



Do You Remember Life Before “Technology”

There seems to be always someone on my FB that posts photos of things such as a wall telephone with a rotary dial and asks “Does anyone remember these?”  or some other relic from what young folks consider “the old days”.

Inevitably there is usually someone who will post a photo of the base of a treadle sewing machine and ask “What is this?”

I miss “my” old days, and the way life was so much simpler and peaceful…. even with the peace marches and bra burnings.  Those exhibitions of social outrage seem so peaceful compared to the riots and vulgar displays happening in our world today.

I miss not being tethered to a telephone when I leave home, and not being bombarded with images of overly buxom Barbie impersonators each time I turn on the tv or needing to fast forward through a movie because of totally un-necessary to the plot, intimate scenes.

I miss morality and good taste.  I miss the days when people kept their private business to themselves.  I miss the days when boys made the first timid attempt at holding a girl’s hand, let alone try to get that first kiss…. rather than today’s girls who are the ones “notching their bedpost”.

I miss the days when no one would dare leave home without being properly dressed…. these days they go shopping wearing their pajamas and slippers…and some wear next to nothing.

I miss seeing 13-year-old girls who look and dress like 13 and not 25.  I miss seeing 8 year olds playing with dolls, and not texting on cell phones or reading books and not playing video games.  And boys being more interested in comic books and baseball than girls, drugs and guns.

I miss having three work shifts, and not flex-time.  I miss when companies hired people for 40 hour work week, and not 39 or less in order to avoid providing benefits such as medical insurance for their employees.

I miss the days when a family could live comfortably on one paycheck, and kids were raised by their parents to be respectful, moral and educated.

I miss the days when people weren’t offended by other people speaking their mind.

I can keep going with this all day….. but I have ranted enough for now.

What do you miss?  If we could turn back the years, would you?  I would, in a hear-beat even if it didn’t include making me younger.

Butternut Squash Soup

At a loss as to what to fix for dinner last evening I came up with this….. It was just what we needed to chase the chill and damp after being out in the rain.   I used fresh vegetables and home-canned cubed squash and broth.
Feel free to save for your recipe box  🙂

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This is a hearty soup and re-heats nicely. Feel free to adjust the herbs and spices to your own taste.


2 medium white onions chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped celery
1 pint (2 cups) water
1 quart chicken broth

2 quarts cubed butternut squash (with its liquid if home canned)
optional: any winter squash, such as Butternut, Pumpkin, etc may be used.

approx 1 cup of freeze dried, fresh or frozen hash browns for thickener
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp allspice
Salt and Pepper

1 Pint Heavy Cream

Add onions, celery and carrots to soup pot and add 1 pint water and cook covered until tender.

Add the remaining ingredients except the heavy cream.

Boil gently until well-cooked adding salt and pepper as desired.

Using a submersion mixer, food processor, blender or food mill puree the soup until well blended yet still with small chunks.

Stir in the heavy cream.

Serve hot…garnish with chopped green onion stem or other garnish if desired.


Keeping Eggs Fresh Longer

Not washing  and  storing eggs with the rounded end up will prolong their shelf-life.

Why?  How?  The answers are simpler than you may expect.

Why not washing eggs is good for them…..

When the chicken lays the egg it is coated with a substance called “bloom” which seals the shell.  The shell is porous and washing it removes this protective coating which permits bacteria to enter into the egg.

It is best to avoid washing eggs, but there are times when they do require a bit of cleaning.  At those times it is best to flick off any dried on bits, or


gently spot clean with a moistened cloth.

The cycle of an egg is quite amazing.  It begins as a yolk, one of many, which are stored deep inside the hen.  During each 24 hour period the yolk travels from the ovary developing the white and finally the shell before being expelled through the vent.   Just before it is laid, it is coated with the bloom.

Inside the eggshell there is a small pocket of air which is for the chick.  Over time, since the shell is porous, more air enters into the egg.  The bloom slows this process.

When the egg is stored pointed side down, the air pocket is located at the top rounded end between the inner and outer shell membranes. then This pocket gradually grows over time as the egg loses moisture.  Keeping the air pocket at the top helps to prevent it from rupturing and reduces the risk of spoilage.  It also helps to keep the yolk centered in the white.

So happy to say good-bye to 2017! Welcome 2018!

This is one New Year that we are looking forward to. As we wish 2017 an eager good-bye we are ready to begin 2018, a bit apprehensive of what may be in store for our crazy world, but ready to begin one more time.

We start our year by developing plans for the things we want to accomplish at the homestead and at the home in town. Having to live away from the farm means more work, but it also offers the opportunity to start this year’s garden in a location with better soil.

The only thing I miss about the CT home is my garden, so I am going to attempt to duplicate it here at the town home. I am busily sorting through my saved seeds and planning what will get planted. This year there will also be a kitchen herb garden.

At the farm our chickens have finally started laying eggs and each day the number of eggs has been increasing. It is wonderful to see those beautiful orange yolks at last.

Our flock, which we started in June, consists of four hens and one rooster of three breeds: Aracanas, Black Astralorps, and Star Spangled Hamburgs. When the weather warms we will separate the breeds so they hopefully will brood and increase the number of each.

Sophie and Louis (pronounced Louie) our Great Pyranees have been enjoying having the goat paddock to themselves and don’t seem to miss the herd at all. We are hoping there will be a litter of little Pyrs next summer. Contact me if you would like to be on the wait list one of the pups, or for more information.

There will be more meat chickens, as well as pigs and ducks.


Time to Bake: AppleRumCraisin pie using my dehydrated fruit

Hubby has been hungry for apple pie lately so I pulled out my recipe for using my dehydrated apples and cranberries and baked up this pie for him. He says it is the best apple pie ever.

One of the best things about using dehydrated apples is there is no soggy bottom crust and no hard crust rim.

This 10″ pie uses dehydrated apples and dried cranberries or raisins which have soaked about 24 hours in a rum/water solution to hydrate.     To measure the apples pour enough dry apples into a pie plate to form a slight mound….. remember they will double in size when rehydrated.

Add approximately one cup of craisins or raisins, along with the apples to a large bowl, cover with room temperature water and rum to taste. (about half/half)

Optional:  add a cup of broken walnuts

Next day:  drain the fruit and let them continue draining while you prepare the pie crust.

Heat oven: 375F

Pie Crust:    3 cups all-purpose flour, pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cup shortening or lard, 3/4 cup cold water     (or your favorite recipe for a 10″ pie…. make extra, I doubled my regular crust recipe).

To keep the crust flaky and light handle it as little as possible.  I use a spatula to cut in the shortening to the flour until it is incorporated and the result is somewhat granular.  Then I add the water and mix in using the spatula.

Use fingertips only to finish the dough and form into a ball. Separate the ball into two pieces using  1/3 and 2/3 dough.  Place on a floured surface and gently press to form a disc.  Using a light touch, roll the dough into a circle large enough for to hang over the top rim of the pie plate.

Roll out the top crust larger so there is ample to cover the pie, hang over the rim and create a sealed edge with the bottom crust.

Filling: Mix together 2 cups sugar (more if you like it sweet),   2 tbl instant sure-gel, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves.

Filling:   In a skillet melt 3-4 tbl butter.         Add fruit and gently heat through.   Slowly mix in the sugar mixture until it has all been incorporated.   Add a few tbls rum.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and arrange neatly.  Sprinkle 1 tbl rum over the filling.

Cover with top crust, seal, add decorations, cut in vents, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the crust.

Bake 1 hour.  Cool on rack until cool.   The filling will “set up” as it cools.