Archive for the ‘Little Farm Big Country’ Category

A couple weekends ago a neighbor in town brought a couple of very large boxes of apples to my house. They had picked what was left on their tree and were giving what they had away. I of course do not ever like to see food go to waste so I decide to give my self a try at apple butter.  Here is what I used….

About 35 small very small apples different varieties

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp all spice

1 tsp ground cloves

3 TBL spoon lemon juice

Okay First things first peel and core your apples I had a lot of apples I just peeled and cored them with the help of Mountain Man until it filled up our crock pot.

Peeled Sliced Cored Apples, In a large Crock Pot.

Peeled Sliced Cored Apples, In a large Crock Pot.

Turn the crock pot on low, meanwhile mix all of your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then cover your apples with the mixture. Put the lid on the crock pot and walk away.

After about 2 hours pull the lid off and take a potato maser to the apple and start to break them up a bit.

apple butter 2At this point your house will smell amazing. Mix it up and walk away again.

After about 8 hours my mixture was really breaking down so I turned the pot on high and let it cook another hour. After that I pulled my mixture out and dumped it in my ninja to whip it up. After it was a smooth consistency I poured it back into the crock pot and let it cook with the lid off for another hour, until it was the thickness I liked.

I put my fresh apple butter in some jars and gave them a quick hot water bath so I could store them in the cupboards. For directions on hot water bath canning click here.

I dove in as soon as I whipped this up, Of course after all that work I really didn’t get that much but it is so worth it. Get yourself to an orchard pick some apples and make this today. I’m serious it will be worth it I promise.

apple butter jarsKimmy (sticks)


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Check out my Candy corn nails I am totally getting into the spirit of fall...

Check out my Candy corn nails I am totally getting into the spirit of fall…

As I sit here at 11 p.m.  sipping pumpkin coffee, watching mountain man sleep on the couch because he passed out after taking Benadryl for his allergies, ( ya he’s that bad ass ) I thought I would take a min to share with everyone what I have been up to today.

Fall is in the air, It has been a chilly couple of days and I am in a mad panic realizing that I am not near prepared enough for the winter as far a food storage goes. Here in the sticks we can a lot of our own produce. I decided to spend my weekend off by going into town and picking up a box of peaches and canning them. While I don’t have my own peach trees, I prefer to buy my peaches from a local Farm Stand. Canned Peaches is something I have always loved to eat not loved to do. Anyone who has canned peaches knows that it is a sticky time-consuming mess.

I canned about a dozen jars of regular old peaches in simple syrup and then I did something amazing, I made a few jars of spicy peaches… I am sure this is not a new or novel idea but I was introduced to the Idea by one of my dear friends . I just had to try it…

Start of by preparing your jars and peaches as you always would when canning peaches. If you have never canned peaches here is are some great instructions from the Ball Blue Book of Canning.

Hot water bath canning

Then all you do is add a spicy pepper or two, Jalapeno or Serrano would work great, of course this would depend on your heat preference but I chose Serrano peppers for mine. Just drop them into your jar before you top with lids and submerge in the water. Just bathe them as the instructions call for. The Ball Website is a great tool for cooking times and altitude adjustments while canning, as well as fantastic recipes. For a link to the Ball website click here.

Now I have to be honest I don’t know what they taste like and I would imagine the longer you let them sit the more spicy they are but I have a very special place in my heart and soul for all things spicy, I know that was a little dramatic but it’s very true.

I can not wait to pop open one of these jars and devour the sweet and spicy goodness that can only come from peaches and peppers.

Spicy Peaches

Spicy Peaches

Good luck, let me know what you think of them.

Kimmy (the sticks)

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We have adopted 10 new family members, we have 10 baby chickens currently pecking and scratching away in my dining room. They are in a box of course but it sounds like a wood pecker is loose in my Kitchen.

I have been begging Mountain Man for Chickens since 2005 when we bought our first home. He has resisted and ignored my requests and for some unknown reason this last weekend he says to me, So I have a chicken coop lined up for you if you want it. hmmmmmmm what has he done? hehe. Seriously though what the hell? I have been begging for chickens for years and now he decides is  as good a time as any to fulfill my fantasy of chickens.

So before he changed his mind we loaded up a trailer and headed over the mountain to pick up this lovely coop from a friend of mountain man’s grandpa. His grandpa built it, but we had to pick it up at the uncles house. Whatever it is now mine and I was so excited. I made him stop at the hardware store on the way back down to pick up some paint.

Just starting to get paint on this beauty

Just starting to get paint on this beauty

Please ignore the messy yard and leaves everywhere it is early spring and the snow has only been melted for a week or 2 and I haven’t gotten to the yard yet.

Mountain man even cut me a tin roof and put it on for my new pals.


My daughter helped her dad with the whole project and painted all the white on the house as well.

My daughter helped her dad with the whole project and painted all the white on the house as well.

We got it all painted and she looks beautiful.

I need to get some old tin signs for the sides and stuff to spruce it up a little.

My tiny red barn.

My tiny red barn.

Maybe a weather vain on top that would look great right?

The next day I decided to get my chickens. I went to my local Cal Ranch (tractor supply feed store) and picked up ten little ladies. Well I hope they are all Ladies although truth be told I kind of would like to have a rooster around. Anyway my theory was that if I bought 10 that I would end up with 5 because I figured at least half of them would die, because of multiple reasons but mostly because I am a pessimist.

However they are all still here and seem to be healthy and happy so now I have 10. Now to keep the cat and the two trained to find bird dogs out of them


I chose a variety of breeds based on their cold heartiness since our last winter was just awful, egg production, and temperament.

This is what I came up with.

2 Black Sex-Link (this is a Hybrid Breed)

2 Barred Rock (also a Hybrid Breed) These are absolutely beautiful black and white striped Birds.

3 Golden Sex – Link ( again a Hybrid) I am looking forward to these birds

1 Australorp – I did not choose this bird my daughter did but still a good choice

2 Buff Orpington Which is a cross breed I believe and thus is also a Hybrid.

Why Hybrid ? Well it basicially is a fancy term for a mut bird, haha well kind of it is a specific cross breed of Chicken made to produce maximum eggs and grow to maturity at max speed. These birds should start to produce eggs at 20 weeks.


I know that seems fast but they have changed so much in just the 4 days we have had them I’d say they were about 1-2 days old when we got them.chickThis is a day old chick above.


3 Days old (Aprox) in my old wrinkly hand.

And now here they are today

The two front yellow ones are buff orpingtons the one behind them with the copper head is a golden sex link

The two front yellow ones are buff orpingtons the one behind them with the copper head is a golden sex link And that big beauty in the front on the right is My little Jessie’s Astralorpe.


Barred Rock hens and Buff Orpingtons

Barred Rock hens and Buff Orpingtons

Just look at how they are loosing their fluff and getting feathers. This is called Molting. I have been studying.


I got these mostly for the egg production however if all 10 of them live and they all start producing eggs at the low average rate I figured that I will have about 2200-3000 eggs a year. Gah I may have to thin out a bit or get a big fridge and start selling them,   but also because I think they are a fun animal to have around.  I really hope I end up with one rooster otherwise I am going to have to find myself one big Americana(they are beautiful) to keep these ladies under control .

Thats all I’ve got from the sticks this week. I’ll keep you updated on my experiences as the weeks go by.



( The Sticks)






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