Saturday, July 3, 2010

When one wakes up in the morning, you have a basic idea what you would like to get accomplished for the day. You know, be productive. When I woke up this morning the sky was blue and clear and sun was beaming through my bedroom window. I thought 'yes!! bonus...get some yard work done, play with my girls ( girls being my jerseys) and make some more strawberry rhubarb jam and maybe go back into the bush and get more willow to make a chair. But one phone call to the hubby to see if he was going to start heading back home today from Banff and the morning is gone.

Madeline started her job on the first, being a trail guide for Warner Stables in Banff, to the guests aka tourists. Dad is having a hard time leaving her behind. He feels like he is abandoning her. I keep telling him, we have to let them go sometime.

Well that phone call lead to another. This time to the son-in-sin, Mike. Need his help finding me a good deal on a pay as you go cell phone for Frank, Jr. I figure since the boy got his driver's this past Monday, he needs a phone so he can phone home. Than I talked with Cassierae. I told that I took the plunge and started a blog. Her being my creative girl, and savvy on the net, she is going to help me get this blog looking the way I want. Told you before, I am not that techie.

While I was talking with Cassierae on the phone, I could hear in the background her cell phone beeping. Her friend, Angel is going to take her out driving today. Cassierae doesn't have her drivers yet. And I think it is about time she gets them. Mike isn't a very good teacher, and I live three hours away, so it has been left in Angel's capable hands. Good luck girls. The oldest girl was also texting Cassierae. So I made another phone call. I have had my new cordless phone I think almost a year, and this is the first time, I talked it to death. The phone starting beeping-it needed to be recharged!

I couldn't believe how fast the morning flies when you sitting in your jammies, drinking fresh perked coffee, and chatting. It was 11.25! I hadn't started my laundry, or my jam and I wasn't even dressed! Now, that is totally not me! Sometime during all the chatting on the phone, the sky clouded over and the wind picked up. Now I don't mind the overcast sky, however I am getting tired of its teasing. Either rain or clear up! We are so in desperate need of moisture! Unlike the rest of the province.

I got my jam made. Yes, I cheated. I used certo. But I did make strawberry/rhubarb jam the 'old' way, without certo, last week. It sure is darker than the batch made with certo. Oh, but it sure is yum yum!

I also have a loaf of bread on the go in the bread machine. Yes, another cheat. The oven on my stove gave up the ghost last fall. Yup, almost a year without an oven. Sure do miss homemade bread, biscuits and the cinnamon buns. I started my job on the 3rd of May, and I bought a washing machine with the first paycheck, and the second paycheck bought a stove. I ordered them through the Brick. My stove should be here early part of next week. Can hardly wait!



9 cups of rhubarb (chopped into 1/2 inch slices)
12 cups of sugar
9 cups sliced strawberries
3/4 cup lemon juice

-Combine rhubarb and sugar into a large pot, let stand 2 hours. Sterilize your jam jars.
-Add strawberries and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and boil rapidly, stirring often for about 20-25 minutes until jam is slightly thickened. To test if it is reading to put into jars, place a small plate into the freezer until cold. Drop a teaspoon of jam onto the cold plate, the jam should slowly run when the plate is tip sideways- you know what 'thick' jam looks like.
-Remove from heat and stir for a few minutes. Skim the foam off the top with a spoon.
-Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.
-Process in a water canner for about 10 minutes.
-Let the jars cool and let the jars sing to you with their 'popping'
-If they don't seal, just put those ones into the fridge and use up first.

This recipe is from Mary Anne Dragan's Well Preserved Cookbook. Which by the way is on my wish list. I have to admit, that sometimes I don't follow directions all that closely. My strawberries were crushed. I also started this recipe in the evening, so I let my rhubarb and sugar sit in a bowl with a lid on thru the night. And it took me a while to 'cook' my jam to the right consistency. But it was well worth it. Now, if only I could grow strawberries!

Happy trails!
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letting go

I think the hardest deed a parent has to do is to let go. Our baby girl, Madeline, has moved over 11 hours away. It is the beginning of many firsts for her. Her first job, first time away from us, ...than there will firsts that we will never know that she has experienced. We can only imagine. The hardest part for me was I couldn't get away from work to go help move into her first 'home away from home'. It was all left up to dad. Poor Frank, he isn't handling this very well. When he comes home tomorrow, he will be in desperate need of hug. For the next ten weeks will be hard on him. Ok, I will admit, it will also be hard on me also. The worrying. But we as parents have to believe that we raised our children to the best of our ability. That we gave them all the tools that they are going to need to succeed in life. That we trust them to make the right choices, decisions, and to be responsible. There will be bumps along the way, but such is the highway called life.

Take care.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Hi and welcome. I have been thinking about it for awhile about having a journal. A place to put my thoughts, and to share what I have learnt and what I am learning. I am not very techie- is that a word? I will have to get the assistance from one my girls to help me post photos.

Currently, I live on a farm in the Peace country which is located in northern Alberta. We have lived here for the past four years. The growing zone here is about a 1b. What does that mean? It means that our winters get down to -40 to -45 degrees Celsius. But I still manage to raise a garden despite the short growing days. The winters are hard on fruit trees. But I am hoping to be able to create a micro-climate in my yard to protect the fruit trees from the harsh winters. That is a work in the progress.

I have lived on a farm for nineteen years now. My husband has been on the land his whole life. We raise mostly commercial beef cows. All natural and hormone free. I have always had chickens, and they are the most simplest creatures to raise. Depending where you live on this blue marble of ours, will determine what kind of building will house your ladies. 

We have a great debate each year when I hatch our chicks about what gets done with the roosters. My hubby doesn't like to butcher. He always apologises to the rooster on the chopping block and tells our future dinner, that he 'doesn't want to do this but she is making me. ' It doesn't bother me to pluck or gut them, I just can't take their lives.

I have had different breeds over the years, but over the past four years, I really want to get into raising the heritage breeds. My current flock of girls are mainly Black Australorps and just two lonely Buff Orpington ladies. Both these breeds are called dual purpose. Basically meaning that they lay a big brown egg, and are a meaty bird. Due to the lack of butchering at the proper time, the roosters get too big and the meat is tough, I end up canning the boys. Nothing tastes as good as canned chicken on a very hot day when you just don't feel like cooking. And the chicken from the jar makes excellent chicken soup in the winter.

Growing up, my late father always said that the land should feed you. I totally believe in that philosophy. When I married my husband, Frank and we moved onto the land I always wanted to raise our own food. I want to raise our own meat, that includes chicken, beef, lamb, and piggys, have a huge garden, and of course the beloved family milk cow. Still working on the pigs!

Thanks for the visit, and check back often.

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