Monday, December 5, 2011

Our first duck eggs~

We are getting between 5-8 eggs every morning.

The brown egg is a regular sized chicken egg (from a friend) can see that it is pretty close in size to the duck-pullet eggs on the left of the photo. The large egg on top, is actually about full size for a duck egg! So, one of our girls is laying full size eggs already! =)

Still life~ Duck Eggs.

(Pleas, with the egg basket that his oldest sister gave us- thanks Bess!)
Pleas, decided that fresh eggs are the way to go...he collects the eggs, brings them in cleans 2 and cooks them for breakfast (ducks lay their eggs very early in the morning). He does not want to eat "old" eggs again! (In order to take this photo with so many eggs in it, I persuaded him to eat chicken eggs for just one morning...he did, and said "YUCK"! We've been buying fresh chicken eggs from friends, but they just don't compare!

We've kept chickens for eggs before, three different flocks through the years. We decided we'd try ducks this time and raised them from ducklings. That was a first, we'd always bought young laying chickens.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The blessings of rain!

You know that we have been under quite a drought this year...some say the first year of a 10-year drought. We hope not!

We have received several nice rains over the past couple of months, but nothing to write home about.

Until this rain, that started yesterday. Our ground was still pretty damp from the last rain, and from the time of the rain starting yesterday afternoon 'till this morning, we received 3 inches, and our rain barrel* is full and over-flowing out the overflow pipe and out to our very dry pond!

Now, to figure out how to get the water in the yard into the pond....

It has been raining steadily...with more in the the forecast! God is so good!=)

*We got our 2500 gallon rain barrel last February/March, and it filled up one time this year (but did not overflow), in the spring. But because of the drought, it did not last very long, the Blueberries drank it all up!

A side note: Our ducks were having SO much fun in the rain last night, they did not want to go to bed (bad children!). Dad found them around 10 o'clock, and I helped him chase them around in the chilly, dark night. (We did get them to go to bed...)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Shopping...

...or just stocking up for your family:
we have almost all of our regular soaps available right now! =)

Our soaps are made with loving care. We are choosey about products our family uses and we make extra to have some available for you and your family. We choose a variety of soap making fats and oils (tallow, coconut, olive, and others) to get a nourishing, moisturizing bar that cleans well, but doesn't strip the skin. The tallow we use is from local, grass fed beef. Tallow makes for a longer lasting, harder bar of soap. One comment we hear over and over again is how long our soap lasts compared to others people have tried. Longer lasting soap makes the price an even better deal!

All soap is $4 a bar.
Here is a list of what we have available:

Sweet Orange
Old Fashioned Sulfur
Koala Mint (eucalyptus & spearmint)
Oatmeal and Honey
Goat Milk & Honey
French Green Clay
Enchanting Garden
Prairie Rose
Plain Jane
Barbershop Quartet
~Shaving soap~ Barbershop Quartet

And we have a long lasting "lotion bar in a tin" it is a wonderful, rich skin balm, perfect for winter dryness. I use it every night on my hands and lips, sometimes on elbows, feet, etc. and basically never need to use skin lotion. $8 each, or 2 for $14.
(This is a big tin, approx. 2 oz or 80 grams in weight.)

If you wish to place an order, please e-mail us at:

You could arrange to pick it up, or have us drop it off,
or we could mail it to you.
Shipping (flat rate USPS) is $5 for 4 items, and if you want more than that, you'll have to give us a minute so we can figure out how much it would be! =)

(...remember, we also have a nice selection of jams and jellies!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Apple Day!

We decided that we missed prepping pears for the dehydrator and ordered a 20 pound box of organic juice quality apples to prep and dry.


We used the peeler gizmo and hubby helped Adrienne and I, we got it done in about an hour.

Q: Can I leave the skin on?
A: Yes, you can leave the skin on, but it gets rather tough. (The piggies are getting our skins and cores!
To keep the apples from getting brown (the lighting is why these don't look so good), we mixed 1T citric acid and 1T ascorbic acid in 2 quarts water, and tossed them in. (just don't leave them in longer than 30 minutes)

9 trays full and drying right now!!!!! So much easier than pears!!!

We ran out of space in the dehydrator, so we added a few old apples that were running around, and had enough apples for 2 pies.

(this is what the solution looked like when we got done- kind of murky...)

So Adrienne experimented with freezing one pie's worth for Thanksgiving.
Put apples in boiling water for 2 min and then remove them to a bowl of ice water til cool, and then pack and freeze.

And the other half she cooked up and made 2 half pie/cobblers. one for tonight, and one for the freezer.

This is what she did this time:
8-9 cups Apples
2t. Cinnamon
1t. Nutmeg
1/2t. homemade dried Orange rind
1/2t. salt
some butter
Some water
(you could just use 3/4 -1 cup brown or white sugar)
a splash of Molasses
1/2 t. Stevia
1/2c. Xylitol

Cook it a while on the stove, and then dump it in your pan(s), top with homemade crust (thanks Mom), bake awhile @ 375ish until filling is bubbly and crust seems nicely browned.

The next morning the Dried Apples were done:

After putting up literally hundreds of pounds of pears, a 20 pound box of apples was like a walk in the park! I made a note to self, next time order TWO boxes!

(Adrienne really packed the first jar too full, otherwise it would have been two full half gallon jars!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

pears, Pears, PEARS!

We have our own pear trees, but because of the drought, the fruit was no good this year, but our neighbors across the street had good pears, and told us we could have them all! =)

It is really nice having nice neighbors. (Sometimes I think that they are too nice for us!)

This type of pear "sand pear" (found in yards & hedgerows) are always organic. They are very hardy, and resistant to pests, etc....

From our guesstimation, we picked & processed at least a couple hundred pounds of pears.

To make anything with these pears (even just eating) they must be peeled first. (the peel is indigestible)

Sometime, you even find little faces looking out at you!

Recipe #1.
Dad bought Mom one of those lovely dehydrators this summer, and we dried more than 10 quarts jars packed full. (I know that it was more, because we ate a lot, and gave some away) ...our kitchen is sticky now...

You must wash & then sterilize your jars anytime you are going to can.... you go! (you wash and boil the lids & rings too, in another pot)

Recipe #2.
We decided to try our hand at Pear Marmalade. Organic oranges & orange peels...

...processed till smooth.

Add some drained crushed pineapple... your finely chopped pears, sugar, lemon, and any other ingredients that the recipe called for...
...then you boil/simmer it...

...till it gets thick from the natural pectin in the fruit...

..and it gets all nice and carmely brown, and even thicker...

...and you add your thinly sliced Maraschino cherries. (we only had half the amount called for, but we think that what we had was plenty! Then we canned it all! =) ...our kitchen is even stickier now...
Recipe #3.
We made Pear Chutney for the first time too.

Freshly canned chutney~ ready to come out...

...our kitchen is really sticky now...

Recipe #4.
Pickled Spiced Pears

First you infuse your vinegar& sugar with your spices (all tied up in your little spice bag), then you cook the pears in the vinegar syrup in batches. Then you let every thing sit together at room tempature, overnight, to pickle properly.

Next day, you heat your jars & lids, remove the pears & spices, and bring the vinegar syrup to a boil.

Pack the pears into hot jars...

...add boiling syrup, wipe the tops, put on the lids, and can them!

...our kitchen is SO sticky now, I am glad that the pears are all gone till next year...
I honestly don't want to see or eat another pear for a few months! =}