Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Later this week, my sister-in-law, Dawn, will celebrate a milestone birthday. She will be 50. So, this past weekend my mother-in-law, Bobette, and my sisters-in-law, Toi and Krista, and I, headed down to Houston, Texas to surprise her. And, boy, was she surprised. She had no idea we were coming.

We had an awesome time together. Lots of laughing, lots of eating, doesn't get any better than that. And her husband, Bruce, well I must say he went above and beyond making us feel welcome.

Happy Birthday Dee Dee Girl! May the Lord bless you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Like Cows

I talk a lot about turkeys here at Down On The Farm. If people ask about my life, I usually say "I live on a turkey farm." But its not ALL about the turkeys, we raise cows too. Actually, we raise a LOT of cows. We run a cow/calf operation.

Some farmers only raise feeder calves. Meaning, they buy calves when they are small, feed them until they weigh a certain weight, then sell them, making money off the weight gain, since calves are sold by the pound. We have mama cows that we raise and they have babies on our farm, then we sell the heifers and steers when they weigh between 500 and 700 pounds. Some of the better heifer calves (girls) we hold back each year to be mama cows.

I especially love baby calves, but this time of year we don't have too many little babies.

Cole likes cows too. In fact, Cole rents a small farm from my great aunt and has six cow/calf pairs there. He has three heifers that he is raising to be mama cows and, yesterday, he bought five more cow/calf pairs.

Yep, Cole like cows.

And cows like him too . . but then he's a pretty neat kid, they BETTER like him, or they've got ME to deal with.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Price

Just in case you're wondering, in case anybody actually CARES, the price of unleaded in Eldon is $2.45 per gallon, and the price of diesel is $2.55 per gallon. Now, if only somebody could tell me why bulk propane is $1.07 per gallon ? ? ? ? ?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Down On The Farm Pickles

You didn't know this was a cooking blog did you? I mean, I've given you salsa, and now I'm giving you pickles. And not just any pickles, bread and butter pickles, and man are they good.
So here's how ya make 'em!

First of all you need cukes! Lots and lots of cukes! It's a good thing we have lots of cucumbers in our garden.

You wash and slice the cukes like so. To make one "batch" of bread and butter pickles, you need one gallon of sliced cukes. Slice them as thin as you can.

Then you need green pepper and onion. Again washed, and sliced fairly thin.

Then you place the cukes, the green pepper and onion in a large crock. I layered mine. Then you take one quart of crushed ice and 1/4 cup pickling salt and put that on top of the vegetables in the crock. Now, you'll need to put a glass plate or something on top of the ice and then weigh it down with a couple of cans of corn or something. Keep in mind that what you put on the plate to weigh it down needs to be clean because, after sitting there for 3 hours it will "sink" and water will be over the plate or whatever you use.

Let all that sit for 3 hours then drain, but don't rinse.

Now, you place all of this in a large aluminum or enamel pot and add white vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed and celery seed. Bring this to a boil, put in your pint jars, and process in a boiling water bath. Now folks, I'm not kidding, these are the BEST bread and butter pickles I have ever eaten. Try them, I think you'll love them too! We've made about 25 pints! Mmmmm, Mmmmm Good!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

St. Louis Weekend

This past weekend we decided to head to the big city -- St. Louis -- to do some school clothes shopping and spend some time with my parents and my sisters and niece and nephews. Well, actually, we went to Chesterfield but hey, when you live Down On the Farm, Chesterfield IS the big city. Cole and Alex and I, my mom and dad, and my sister Renda and her husband Greg and Caragan and Cade, met up with my sister Rhonda at Chesterfield Mall and spent the day increasing the local economy.

Caragan decided to show off her gymnastics skills on this contraption. She was doing backflips about 20 feet in the air. I could have done that, but I didn't wanna show up my 10 year old niece. Little twerp.

After a day of shopping, we headed to PF Changs for dinner.

These pictures aren't the greatest, as it's fairly dark in PF Changs, but we enjoyed it!

After dinner, we drove out to Rhonda's for a boat ride. It was absolutely beautiful. The temperature was perfect and their new boat is gorgeous!!!

Now doesn't that look like fun ? ? ?
We did a little more shopping Sunday morning, had lunch together, then headed home. We truly had a great time!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Down On The Farm Salsa, Baby!

Just imagine yourself sitting down to a bag of white corn tortilla chips and a bowl of our homemade salsa. That, my friends, is heaven on earth. Opening a jar of our homemade salsa is just like opening up a jar of sunshine, or, if its the middle of winter, a jar of summertime. The smell of fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, mmmmmmmmm. Delicious. I am so excited, I have have had a request to post my salsa recipe and I'm happy to do so. So here it is, Down On The Farm Salsa!!!!!!!!!!!!

You start with six quarts of fresh tomatoes. Homegrown and perfectly ripe works best. We like our salsa fairly smooooooooth, so I use a Pampered Chef Food Chopper to chop the tomatoes, plus it makes it a lot easier to measure six quarts of tomatoes. We add 4 cups of homegrown onion and 2 cups of homegrown green pepper. Again, we like ours chopped pretty fine, but you can do whatever trips your trigger. We add 1/4 cup chopped garlic and 2 or 3 chopped jalapenos. If you don't like jalapenos, by all means you can leave them out, but, I think it just gives it a little "kick" without being too overpowering. Pour all this into a stock pot or other large pan then add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 Tablespoons salt.

Stirring continually, bring this mixture up to a slow simmer, then let it simmer for 20 minutes. Again, you will need to stir continually as tomatoes are notorious for scorching. After simmering, pour the mixture into clean, hot jars. We use pint jars, and this recipe makes 9 or 10 pints, depending on how many tomatoes, onion and green pepper you put in. After putting the salsa into jars, put your lids and rings on, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. We have probably made 50 pints of salsa this summer alone, and have never had a problem with jars not sealing.

You can, of course, adjust this recipe to suit your taste. One batch we added homegrown corn kernels. Another batch I used brown sugar instead of white sugar. Sometimes we add more or less japalenos.

Now I will warn you of something. This salsa doesn't last long around our house. Cole and Alex can eat a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa BEFORE SUPPER!! So, while 50 pints of salsa may sound like a lot to you . . . we will be making more. Hope you enjoy your Down On The Farm Salsa!!!

6 qt. chopped tomatoes
4 c. chopped onions
2 c. chopped green peppers
2 or 3 chopped jalapenos
1/4 c chopped garlic
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c corn starch
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls. Salt

Bring to a slow simmer, and simmer 20 minutes. Then pour into clean hot pint jars. Put on lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Allow jars to cool and seal then BRING ON THE TORTILLA CHIPS!!!