Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mark's simple dill pickles

My father in law gave my husband this recipe a year before he passed a way. It has become one we use the most. You use an ice cream pail and it can last in the fridge for a year. (ours barely last a week.)

What you will need is cucumbers, 4 to 6 heads dill, 4 to 6 clove garlic, 1 med. onion, and 1 tsp Mustard seed. Then the brine is 1 pint vinegar, 1 1/2 quart water, and 1/2 cup canning salt.

I start heating the brine so when I am done it is also to the boiling point.

Then I put half of the onion, dill, garlic, and mustard seed on the bottom of the ice cream bucket.

Slice the cucumbers and pack them in as tight as you can. Then once you filled to the Top (I didn't have many so I only did a half a bucket.) Then cover with the rest of the onion, dill, garlic and mustard seed.

Pour the brine over the lot till bucket is full.

Cover with a cloth and let sit for three days one counter. then cover with lid and put  in fridge and enjoy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Canning Green beans

I can all my green beans very year. So I decided to tell you how I do it. First thing is deciding to do a raw pack or hot pack. To me this is a no brainer on my end. I do the hot pack that cuts down on some time. ( I can't remember doing a hot pack so I can't say on taste.)
First thing is to gather your beans.( Did you think I would skip that? ;) ) after washing them, you need to snap them. I at one time thought it was easier to just snap the top and bottom of the bean. But one night I wanted them to fit in a small bucket in the fridge so I made them smaller.

Then I once again rinse the green beans to make sure they are good and clean.

As II am rising the beans I fill one of my sinks with hot water and my jars. (I do not have a dishwasher or I would just use that.)

As I pack the jars I have the lids warming. (My lids are older sense I bought them in box cases. so read the guidelines if you are buying newer ones.) I also have a pot of water heating as I work.

Then loosely pack the beans in the hot jars.

once the water is boiling pour it in the jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. I use a butter knife to poke in the jar on all sides to release the air bubbles. (this keeps the jars from breaking in the pressure cooker.)
Then take a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe the rim of the jar. Once clean place the hot lids and rings on the jars.
Now time for loading the pressure canner.

I can usually fit up to seven pints in my canner. but make sure they are not touching the sides or each other.
Now you will have to get the pressure cooker ready according to the book. Mine says to put three quarts of cold water in.

I usually have three quart canning Jars filled with water waiting for me. Then after making sure that the air vents are clean I put the lid on.

Now you need to heat the canner till the steam comes out and the vent(or vent lock) in front comes up. Place your regulator on the vent pipe. Then wait till the pressure reaches you goal. Mine is 10 pounds of pressure. Now wait and watch the pressure for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes turn of heat and let cool till the air vent/cover lock falls. Then you can open and place the jars on a towel to cook. I leave them overnight, but don't move them for eight or more hours so they seal correctly.
To check if they sealed after the length of time rub finger gently on the lid. It should not move or make a sound.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thoughts on a Cattle Auction

My Mother in law wanted the kids on a Tuesday night this summer so Joel and I decided to go to the cattle auction to see what there was. Though we came home empty-handed we did learn a few things. Joel had never been to an animal auction. I have been to several horse auctions with my Dad. I always found it fun and exciting. But I knew horses, being around them from the time I was born. I know only little about cattle. I am learning with my Mabel since she was my first.  I didn't bring my camera so I have no pictures of anything we seen.
So going to my first Cattle auction was fun, ( though more for me than Joel) I learned things that I have never thought of before. Besides the first one, I Thought Joel understood going to Machinery auctions.
First:Bringing someone to understand the auctioneer would be helpful. though we did have fun trying to guess what he said.
Second: The calves and cows that we had seen on Craigslist and on my Many groups on Facebook where not higher in price. We had passed on some nice calves since we had a lower price in mind. We thought we would be able to pick up several for the prices we were seeing for one on Craigslist.
Third:We need to know the farms around the area better sense they kept saying where the cattle were raised.
Fourth: We need to talk more about what we want, (not just waiting for the other to say let's try for that one.) We missed some calves for a great price because we were waiting for the other to say it.
We also need to talk about breeds and even gender. We could have raised steers for this year and sell them next or so before going for a heifer.
Fifth:We may want to think again about the beef cattle.  The people in the ring with the cattle were moving around and even touching the dairy cows. But when the beef breads came up they stood be hind some guards. Even for the yearlings. Making Joel and I wonder if they are a good idea.
Though that is also part of why I wanted a calf. I want to have a cow that is friendly and broke to lead. I want to be able to touch it and care for it. I don't want an animal I have to fear. I have kids that are also out and about with me I need to thing of them.  I also know that I need to be able to handle it if needed for calving and Vets.
What about you? Do you have cattle? Have you been to an auction?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Farm Tour

I thought that you all might like to get a tour of the animals we raise on our farm. I have some cats that didn't want to get their pictures taken. I couldn't find them when I went out with my camera. So I will start with the Rabbits.

This is Anaikin (yes after Star wars). My husband got him free from an older couple. But forgot his breed before heading home. But Ethan was thrilled with him. He carries Anakin around or putts on his collar and leash letting Anakin hop and eat. they love the fact that he chases My little yorkie.

This is Caramel, because of his soft brown ears. He is a New Zealand crossed with a Californian. He will be the dad to any babies we get around here.

These are the girls. I call them one and two. They look just alike so we never could figure out who was who. They are also Californian cross NZ. We are hoping to get them breed soon. I like them in the colony set up and if I had more room in the barn my boys would be more open penned.The girls are always hoping around or stretched out like this. They seem so happy all the time.

  In the spring and fall when I don't have a garden in the chickens free range. Nothing is better than finding all the eggs and my family love the deep orange yolks in the eggs.

This is Pepsi, she loves attention and doesn't pay too  much attention to where she is running. She is about seven years old.

Here is Teddy. He is my yorkie. He is mostly just a trouble maker that chases the cats, fallows me everywhere, and gets chased by the rabbits and pecked by the chickens.

This is Safy. She is actually my second cousin's. But since she is in college and unable have her she is here. I was thankful for her this winter just so my Cow wasn't alone. I had seen them standing by each other on some of those really cold days. 

Here is Mabel.   she is a jersey and Joel got her for my Mother's day gift three years ago. 

Then this was our first year having pigs. This is Doctor Ham and Professor Bacon. 

We have also tossed around the idea of goats again or even some sheep. But for right now these are the farm animal part of are farm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Welcome to The Brier Patch Farm. The name was finely chosen because of the brambles that over took the Farmstead that had been left for thirty years before we started the clean up. My husband and I had started cleaning out the old abandoned homestead the summer of my Junior year in high school. The three acres plot was to be our wedding gift from my In Laws, who left the building site alone and only farmed the fields around.

Joel and I married two weeks after my high school graduation, which will be 13 years in June. We moved in to a trailer house that we had moved on the fall before. And just last summer we got our house up. We have done every thing as we could pay in cash. Which has been nice since we have no debt in a world over run with it.  We hope to be moved in by next winter.

Joel and I have four children, Three boys ages 12, 10 and 7. With our girl at the end at 5. We are living our lives trying to live naturally. We are trying to raise all of our own food and have grown our acreage from the small three to a little over 200 acres. We spend most of our time working on the Farm and with family all around there is always something going on.

We also attend a small country church down the road. It is a small building that  my Husband’s family along with most of the older neighborhood families built from trees on the neighboring farms.
  Now to my blog, What you will find here is wide-spread. I will be writing about our farm life as things go on. From our Rabbits and chickens to the cow and Horse. with some stories of the human kids and our cats and Dogs. And any other animals I can convince my husband to have.
I also will be writing about my herbalism and use of Essential oils. From use in our medicine cabinet to cleaning the house to barnyard use. Along with our change in diet, ( With my high insulin and low cholesterol)  With recipes and anything I might find interesting. To my hobbies of Sewing, reading, knitting, embroidery, gardening and canning.
I hope you will enjoy and come back often. Please leave a comment if you wish.