Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Barn Day

We decided to go visit the horses and visit with some friends at the barn yesterday.
We watched while Stephanie was working Tony the Pony with his carriage driving.
Tony is in for a few weeks for a tune-up for the summer season.
Michele got to do a little driving for the first time.  She seemed to be having a good time.

Tony the Pony is so cute.  He has a perfect heart marking on the middle of his forehead.
A great little carriage horse.
Maybe I should get me one of those!!

We can't forget treats!!!
First Preacher

Then Echo had to have his.
We groomed them both.
They need their springtime bath!!

Maybe next time.

It was a beautiful day.
Enjoyed the visit.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dexter in the Garden

The bleeding hearts are really beautiful out front right now.

Oh, I wanted to show you this.  I think it's really funny.
After Dexter digs his nice deep hole, he lays by it and watches it!  I think he's waiting for something to pop out of there!!

If he'd dig his holes in the right places, I could just plant a bush or something in there!!!!
Dexter, my little gardener!


Friday, May 23, 2014

I Needed Barn Time!

It's very depressing to have back pain that keeps you from doing everything you like to do!
It has disrupted my whole life!
(I know there's a lot of people out there in the same boat.)
I'm under treatment and am trying to do something about it but it all takes time.
In the mean time, there's the PAIN!

Anyway, I just needed to go be with my horses for awhile today and spend some time with the "barn people"!

When I got there, I caught Preacher napping.
So cute, his eyes were almost closed and he was about to drop his head all the way on the floor.

I tried to sneak in but he heard me, or rather he heard the treat bag!!

Up he popped!

Echo already had his nose stuck out.
Carrots and apples and Winnies Cookies.
They love them!

I went in and gave them both a big hug.
I'm sure it meant more to me than to them!
I just hope this back problem gets solved so I can do more with them!
Well, at least I know they are in a great barn and being well taken care of.  
Echo is also being used as a lesson horse so he is getting some work out.
Preacher is pretty much happily retired and gets to go out with his buddies everyday and just be a horse.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Good Handyman!

I found a wonderful handyman a couple years ago.  
He does things around my property that are too hard for me to do anymore.
(or things, I'd rather someone else do!)
This is really important this year since I am having such back problems and can't even do my gardening.  
Sometimes if I only have a few things, he comes by himself but if I have a list of things that require most of the day, he brings his wife and they work together.
He shoveled out my chicken run and put new shavings down, he cleaned out my chicken coop and put new shavings down.
Him and his wife completely weeded my front gardens and they were a JUNGLE!  They cleaned out my gutters too.  He gave my compost pile a good turning with my Mantis Tiller after getting it started for the first time this year.
They burned a big burn pile I had made, cleaned out my garage and even filled my bird feeders!!
There are still things to do but I will call him back in a couple weeks.
I am so fortunate to have found him.

This man is a head maintenance man in a large church in a nearby community.  His parents were missionaries, and he has done missionary work in the far east, in fact that is where he met his wife.
It's so important to have people around you that you can trust.
Like I say, I've been very fortunate.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Jam Making Gadget Review

I bought my self a mother's day present.
Well, I bought it around Mother's Day.
I like to have my own strawberry freezer jam.
However it is a job I don't enjoy because of all the stirring and then mine has NEVER set properly.  It still tastes wonderful but doesn't set up well.  I've always used Sure Gel in the past.
I saw this Ball Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker on Amazon.
So I bought it!

I went out and bought the strawberries and the correct Pectin which has to be Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin.  (Nothing else)
The only complaints people had about this item is that it didn't make large batches.  
It just makes four 8oz jars at a time.
You can't double the recipe it says or it won't turn out.
I see no problem with just making another batch.  It's really easy and after you cut and mash your strawberries, the machine does the rest.

I actually got 4 1/2 jars out of my batches.  I don't know why, I measured everything to the letter!
But it has beautiful color and it set up perfectly!!  I was so excited about that!!!!
Now for my complaint.
Because the berries boil as it proceeds though it's cycle, the resulting jam does not taste like my other freezer jam that tasted exactly like fresh strawberries.
This tastes like regular canned jam even though I'm freezing it instead of doing the whole canning water bath thing.
Don't get me wrong.  It's very good but for me not as good as the old, even though runny, freezer jam.
It's easy and everything goes into the dishwasher.  No sticky messes which I always had the other way!
I'll try some other fruits and see how they do.

Ball does make an Instant Pectin for freezer jam.  (Which I bought by mistake at first)  It's not for this machine but I'll try it and report.  It's only supposed to take 30 minutes.  No cooking or even boiling of the pectin but it does include 3-4 minutes of constant stirring.
We'll see if it sets up!

Has anyone of you tried this Automatic Ball Jam and Jelly Maker??


Friday, May 16, 2014

Dexter and His Chipmunk Quest

Dexter, an English Pointer, of course, is a bird dog.
However, they will point and hunt other things too if they are not trained just for pheasant or quail etc.
There in lies the problem.
Since Dexter is a rescue with no known history, we don't know if he was ever used for hunting.  
My suspicion is that he is from show bloodlines, not the hunting bloodlines.
It doesn't matter to me since I don't ever plan on going hunting!
Dexter points everything!
Back yard birds at the feeders, chickens, cats, squirrels and chipmunks.
(And anything else that moves)
Well, under my front bird feeder the little chipmunks feed too.
I'm sure they also live under my kitchen porch there.
That's where these pictures are taken.
Dexter started digging at a chipmunk hole.
Oh My!

He digs then waits to see if anything pops up!
I tries to explain to him that he's not a terrier and he's not supposed to be a digger!!

And the hole is so much bigger today!
He has to have his feet hosed off after each outside experience!!
Oh Dexter!!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another Time

I actually really enjoy hanging wash out to dry on my backyard clothes line.  My daughter says I'm trying to be like "Little House On The Prairie".
She may be right actually!
I have a fondness for those times and actually love the TV series "The Waltons" also.
Those programs are truly about family values and what people accomplished with very little money.  The importance of having to work for every penny and how those values were instilled in their children.
So different from today.
There's a whole lot of lessons to be learned from watching those programs.
"Little  House" is set in the 1870-1880s in Walnut Grove in Minnesota and "The Waltons" was set in the depression of 1930-1940s on Spencer's mountain in Virginia.
Family meant everything then.

My dryer has a problem sometimes and blows a circuit when run with anything else.  Maybe I just have a bad circuit breaker but until that is fixed I plan on hanging all my wash outside.  It actually dries faster outside than in the dryer!  And look at the electricity I'm saving!
Plus there's just something wonderful about doing it.
At least for me.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Dexter's Big Accomplishment!

Remember I told you that Dexter could not go down stairs.  He could go up, no problem, but had to be carried down.  He was scared to even try.
Well, yesterday I accidentally left the upstairs door open and Dexter bounded upstairs.
I was by myself and I can't lift him so I though well, he's just going to have to work it out himself!
After about 15 minutes I went upstairs and he was laying on my bed!  No surprise!
I waited about a half hour and I heard some little whimpering and there he was at the top of the steps.

He realized I was downstairs and he was all by himself upstairs!!

I went up and down the steps a couple of times trying to show him it was ok.
I also opened the front door to the garden where he goes when he's out.
The steps lead down and then right across to the door.
Once I did that, he decided to try.
You could see the wheels in his brain turning!

I sat on a step about half way down till he got started.
(So it didn't seem so far!)

Once he got started he was set!
I had him do a few repeats yesterday and now he's a stairway pro!!
Good boy Dexter!!!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Martha!! Not Already!!

Yep, Martha has gone broody already!
Well, I guess it is spring and she must be thinking of babies!
At least her hormones are.

For two days I've had to go in and take her off the nest.
However she sneaks back in there and re-sits!
It looks like she's going to have to have some time out in the wire cage for a couple days.
I'd love to stick a couple baby chicks under her after she sits on some eggs for a few days but I really don't need more than the five hens I have.  It's a good number for me.

Yesterday I took her off the nest and put her in the yard with the other hens.  She squatted down for a few minutes but then started scratching and pecking.
Then she saw the rest had made a nice dust bath area!

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