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Pumpkin Crunch

PUMPKIN CRUNCH

16 OZ. CAN PUMPKIN

1 CAN EVAPORATED MILK

1 CUP SUGAR

½ teaspoon CINNAMON

3 EGGS

1 BOX YELLOW CAKE MIX

1 CUP CHOPPED NUTS

2 STICKS MELTED & COOLED BUTTER

Mix pumpkin, milk, sugar, cinnamon, eggs.  Pour into a wax paper lined 9 X13 pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over top.  Then add chopped nuts; drizzle butter over top.  Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes (be careful that the nuts do not burn)

COOL

Topping:

Mix 8 ounce cream cheese

¾ cup Cool Whip

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

Cover Cooled Pumpkin Crunch with Topping

Pumpkin Crunch

 

Posted by on November 25, 2010 in Recipes, Uncategorized

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Preparing for Freezer Camp

Our meat chickens are almost ready to go to “Freezer Camp”.  I know this is not a pleasant topic but we are concerned about our food source and we would like to control what we are able to control.  We also want to be prepared if we need to depend on ourselves for our food source.  Jim and I have researched the most humane way to process our meat chickens.  We have read many articles and watched videos to help us prepare.  We thought out the lay out of each station, reviewed the process, and purchased what we did not already have on hand.  Just to make sure we knew what we were doing, we thought a trial run might be in the best interest for all involved.  We will post about the process when we document the Road to Freezer Camp at a  later time.

We decided that since the roosters are supposed to be ready for harvest a week or so before the hens, a rooster would be the logical choice.  We learned somethings during the processing of this chicken.

*  Our homemade killing cone was not big enough for our chickens.  We decided to make one instead of purchasing one because we are not sure we will do this process again. We will review and discuss everything later.

*  The water was hotter than the recommended 150 degrees.  We did not think that a couple of degrees would make that much difference……Yes it does!!!  The skin was very fragile and tore when we were plucking.

*  We also forgot to put dish soap in the scalding pot.  Meat chickens are a lot more dirty than our laying hens.  Our meat chickens have debris on their bellies.

*  When making the access for the removal of the insides, I made it too big.

So while these errors were fresh, I recommended to try again to get it right.  The second chicken was processed much more efficiently.  After cleaning up, Jim went to collect the eggs from our laying hens and discovered one of the meat chickens was dead.  We are not certain why.  Once processing this chicken we discovered that there was a lot of dry feed in it’s throat.  The chicken was found near the water.  Did it choke or have a heart attack?  Both of these are good possibilities.  The meat chickens are known for having heart attacks and breaking legs when they get closer to harvest time.

We are prepared for next weekend.  Jim and I will be able to direct those who choose to help us.  More information on some of the articles and videos that we used for research will be included in that post.

 

Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Chickens, Uncategorized

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Good Friends

What are good friends?  Are they people you know very well or are they people who are in your life for a long time?  Can they join you on your journey for just a short time or to help you through one event in your life?  I have had many friends in my life that I would consider good friends.  There are some friends that I have not seen or spoken with in years, but the minute I see or speak with them it seems like only minutes or days have passed. I truly believe that people come in and out of your life for a reason.  I may or may not know what it is for a long time…maybe never.  I try to make everyone I come in contact with feel important.  As Oprah once said “Everyone has a story.”  I enjoy listening to everyone’s story.  It is hard to understand people if you do not know their story.

This weekend I was honored to participate in saying goodbye to Bob Fraleigh.  After his death, his wife became my best friend.  Sheila and her boys are not only friends of our family but part of our family.  A group of friends and family gathered together at Indian Beach, NC to honor and say our final goodbyes to Bob.  We were able to stay together thanks to another friend Nathan!  He was gracious enough to allow us to stay at his beach house for the weekend.

As the sun sets on this chapter of Sheila and boys lives,  may they know that we will always be here for them!  Bob rest in peace!

Love,

Carol

Saturday Night Sunset

 

Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Carol's Corner of the Farm, Uncategorized

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Meat Chickens

While the weather is still reasonable, we decided to get some meat chickens. We ordered them from http://www.mthealthy.com/.  We got 16 Jumbo Cornish Rock Cross chicks. They were hatched and immediately shipped to us on September 1.  I picked them up at the Post Office in the morning on September 2.  All healthy, chirping and active.

Ordered 15 baby chicks and received 16 - kudos to the US Postal Service for their safe arrival.

Here's what I saw when I opened the box. Look how tiny they are.

I moved them in to a larger container and got them started on food and water. These little chicks are specially bred to grow VERY fast. They should be up to 3 or 4 pounds within about 8 weeks. Most dual purpose (egg and meat) chickens take about 6 months to reach that weight.

All moved in to their new home. They will outgrow it within a few days. There is a red light bulb making the odd color - that's to keep them warm.

They stayed in the basement for a few days, but they were already getting a little crowded, not to mention the odor! So I prepared a new larger home for them on the front porch.  They sure are growing fast.

Second new home in less than one week!

Happy and healthy so far. One week old already.

 

Posted by on September 8, 2010 in Chickens

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Labor Day Weekend!

Jim and I spent the weekend at Lake Gaston in Virginia.  We have some friends that have a place at River Ridge Golf and Camp.  What a great place!  We spent one day being lazy on the deck under a tree.  The weather was perfect.  The other day, we spent on the lake.  We fished (did not catch any), cruised the lake, and went swimming.  We had a wonderful time.  It reminds me of the days of camping in Canada when I was growing up.  The food was out of this world.  Lance cooks a mean breakfast!  The people are always so nice and welcoming.  You really have to be up on your football when you visit.  Barb even drove me to Drunk Beach!  I wasn’t sure we were going to make it down the last hill.  Barb is the best!  Michelle, Sheila, Lance, Levi, Jim and I sat around the campfire.  Had many visitors that joined us through out our visit.  It was super to see everyone!  Hope to be back soon.  I would have pictures but Michelle confiscated my phone when we got there!!!  It made for a more relaxing visit.  (Actually, I found it Monday morning and took a few pictures.  I will try to post later!)

 

Posted by on September 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

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Freezing Peaches

Peaches are in at the Farmers Market and your local fruit stands!

Why not freeze some so that you can enjoy them during the winter?  I chose “cling free” or “freestone”  peaches. I try to buy locally grown if I can.  I chose this variety because the fruit releases from their pit much easier…I learned this the hard way!  Freezing peaches is easy to do and are great when you just want a taste of summer during a cold winter.

Good Luck and Enjoy!

Select fresh freestone peaches that are starting to feel soft but are still firm

Wash the peaches. Set on towel to dry.

You can put them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and place them in ice water.  Then remove the skins.  (I don’t mind the skin so I did not do this step.)

Cut the Peaches in half

Then cut into quarters. Remove from pit.

As you are cutting the peaches, remove any blemishes, bruises or overripe parts of the peach.

Place on trays to freeze

Place in freezer until frozen

Label your bags. Place peaches in bags. Return to freezer.

When you are ready to use.  Remove from freezer; place in bowl to thaw in refrigerator.  Use in peach cobbler, smoothies or over ice cream!   The nice thing about freezing this way is that you can use the whole bag or only what you need. They do not freeze into one glob!!! YUM…Enjoy!

 

Posted by on August 28, 2010 in How To, Recipes

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Saturday Morning!

I love Saturday mornings!  It is my time to relax.  I start with a cup of coffee or tea.  Check my emails, twitter accounts, catch up on what friends and family are up to on facebook and discuss the plans for the day with Jim.  We compile a list of goals for the weekend.  Discuss what we caught our interests this week.  Then we usually have some fresh eggs and start our day.  Today the weather will be cooler than it has been so we will hit the NC Farmers Market then work on the yard!  No wine tastings today (One of my favorite Saturday activities!!) because we are not having any sugar, grains or dairy for 31 days!!!  We will see how long that lasts… I will try to post either a recipes or pictures sometime this weekend.  Enjoy today and every day!!!

 

Posted by on August 28, 2010 in Carol's Corner of the Farm

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Building the Square Foot Gardens

Everything we do with the square foot gardens comes right out of the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Just go ahead and buy it – you will use it for reference for many years to come.

A standard size for square foot gardens is 4 feet by 4 feet. We chose to use untreated 4 x 6 lumber for this project. We just purchased 2 8-foot sections for each garden, cut them in half and used deck screws to hold them together.

You don’t have to clear the ground beneath it – you can just cut the grass real short – but we did anyway because it needed some leveling. First lay down some ground cloth (keeps the weeds and grass out, but lets the water drain), and then set the square garden box on top.

Putting the gardens in place

Put down ground cloth before putting the garden box in place

Garden boxes in place - ready for soil

Next step is to mix the soil. It’s called “Mel’s Mix”. It’s 1/3 course vermiculite (we got it from Logan Trading in Raleigh http://www.logantrd.com/), 1/3 Peat Moss (also from Logan Trading) and 1/3 mixed compost. Compost can be bought from Lowes or Home Depot in bags, but you should really have a good variety. We bought ours from Olde Country Produce & Mulch on Poole Rd. in Knightdale – just got a scoop of it dropped in the back of the truck. Lots of leftover, but found various places around the yard to use it. In the future, we will use our own backyard compost, but that’s another post for the future.

The ingredients

Ready to mix

Mix the soil by putting the ingredients on a tarp, then keep folding the tarp back and forth until it’s mixed. Then pull it over next to the garden box and shovel it in.

Fill the box with Mel's Mix

Spray a little water while filling to keep the dust down and help it settle

Fill the box all the way to the top and level it

We highly recommend slats of some sort every 12 inches. That way you can easily see that there are actually 16 distinct squares within the garden, and it’s much easier to keep up with it. You can also plant completely different, unrelated plants in each square.

We used a table saw to rip 2x4 untreated lumber in to ~1/4" thick slats

We used short nuts and bolts to hold the slats together

We used 4 short deck screws to attach the center slats at each end

First year - 4 gardens with a 2 foot path between each

Now they’re ready to plant. You can either use seeds or pick up flats of your favorite plants from your local garden store. We did a combination of both. We will do a separate post for planting.

 

Posted by on August 24, 2010 in How To, Square Foot Gardens

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First Chicken Coop Project

Portable Chicken Coop

We decided to build a chicken coop and get some backyard chickens in the spring of 2009. We purchased the plans and got some great advice from Dave at Catawba ConvertiCoops.

All the Materials

Just getting started

Mike measuring for the deck

Deck and chicken wire installed

Handles installed. Beginning of the roof

Brent putting the sides together

Finished side (it slides both directions or can be lifted up and removed)

Ends installed (Square Foot Garden in background!)

Finished product. Two people can easily lift it up and move it around the yard.

First chickens – One Jersey Giant and one Black Star

Got the chickens on a Saturday and the next day (Easter Sunday!), we got our first eggs.

We used cedar chips for the nests at first, but have learned that’s not the best choice. We’ve also tried Pine Shavings, but Straw seems to work best for us.

 

Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Chickens, How To

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Freezing Fuster Cluck Pears

About a week and a half ago, Daddy & I picked pears from our backyard pear tree. We had read that it is best to pick pears before they are completely ripe because they ripen better off the tree. We let them sit in a bag for awhile on the dining room floor, and every day I would touch them to see if they were getting any softer. On Thursday night, I noticed that a few of them were starting to get soft, so on Friday morning, I woke up with a mission. Luckily, I had a great website to help me with my first true pear experience: www.pickyourown.org .


I washed all of the pears in cold water, then started on the adventure of peeling and coring them.

After that, I sliced them using an apple corer/slicer. I put them directly into a FruitFresh and Water Mixture. For those of you who aren’t familiar with FruitFresh, it is an Ascorbic Acid powder that prevents fruits and veggies from browning. (Check it out! http://thekitchenstore.com/bafrprpr.html … it’s also available at most grocery stores)

I kept slicing and peeling for what seemed like forever, and finally I had enough to fill up a cookie sheet. I lifted the pears out of the bowl, making sure to shake away any excess liquid, and spread them out in a single layer.The next step is to put the pears in the freezer. I ended up making three trays. The next day (you really only have to wait a few hours), I took the pears off the cookie sheet and put them into a labeled Ziplock bag. Easy, Right? Well, now we have a bag and a half of pears, and we still have more pears. Sounds like a good project for later this week! Here’s a pic of the finished product: Frozen Pears

Thanks for reading!

 

Posted by on August 22, 2010 in How To

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