Sunday, August 31, 2014

Foggy AM and more

It's foggy and humid out this morning.

We've had a little over 2" of rain this week and the pool is super full.
I need to pump a little water off and vacuum up some leaves that managed to get in.

My favorite picture taken this AM.
Gypsy and her shadow White Face.

Right now is the perfect riding weather.
If Chyann didn't have friends over I'd go wake her up so we could go.
We sure haven't done as much riding as I'd like this summer.
I hope we can make up for that this fall. 
I can't believe tomorrow is September already.
Wish winters would go by as fast as summers do.

I've got canning on my agenda today.
All that rain cracked a good portion of my ripe tomatoes so I need to get them processed before they go south on me.

I had planned on canning yesterday, but ended up having an impromptu get together instead with Caden's baseball coaches and their families.
The Dad's had talked about doing something all summer and for whatever reason it all came together yesterday.
I made a salsa fantastic macaroni salad from Pioneer Woman.
Try it.
You'll LOVE it.
A great twist on a summer staple.

Yes, I also got stung by something on the foot yesterday while tidying up the yard.
But all is well. 
Hurts like a bitch and a little red - thankfully just a mild reaction.

I'm off to pick some veggies.
later :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday AM coffee

What a week. 

Something about our weather conditions this summer have resulted in our having an abundance of bees, hornets, yellow jackets, wasps and other stinging type bugs.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that our five apple trees are having bumper years?
Or that we have an incredible amount of wild plum trees putting fruit out?

Whatever the cause, I know they are amazing critters, but damn they can sure cause havoc. 

For example this hive was found under the big green truck that weekend we did hay.
No one got stung and we got it removed from the truck safely.

We weren't as lucky last Sunday night when the Hubby was moving some wood around.
He got stung twice on the right calf.

He immediately began to have a mild reaction to the sting, but he "was fine" and didn't want any benadryl. 

However about 20 minutes later he changed his mind when he began itching like crazy and appeared to have hives - he then took a giant dose of benadryl.

At this point I told him maybe we should get him to the doctor for a shot of antihistimine.

Keep in mind I don't know much about allergic reactions, other than if you "can't breathe" you are having a bad reaction and get to the ER or call 911, right? I think that's about the most lay people know about it unless they have had experience with such situations. 

I shouldn't have mentioned shot maybe, cuz he is a big chicken about needles, he say's no the benadry is working he is fine - I can breathe just fine.

I knew in my gut I should have called 911 since I could not convince him to go to the doctor.

At bed time he took another gulp of benadryl. 
The hives were no worse -see he says, it's working I'll be fine.

He slept very restless.
I kept one eye on him all night - I just had a bad feeling about the whole situation and told myself I'd call 911 if anything went sideways.

Next day he goes to work,
The hives are gone.
He says see I told you everything would be fine.

I get a call from him at 1p.
He says his calf that was stung is outrageously swollen and hot to the touch.
I said go to the doc.
He does.

The doc says after examining him that he had had an anaphylactic episode from the stings based on his symptoms the night before - some of which I did not know about, like the red blotches on his back and the current state of cellulitis infection he had in his leg from the stings.

The doc says he was lucky to have lived through the episode without treatment - course the guy did have about a quarter of a bottle of benadryl so obviously that must have made the difference in saving his life the doc confirmed. 

They gave him a antibiotics, steroids, antihistamine and his very own epi pen shot kit.
How is that for freaking scary?!?!
The guy could have died.

I knew it was bad and he should have had treatment.
but what can you do.
  Now WE KNOW.

So, if you think the symptoms of a serious reaction is only throat swelling, you should check out this site

Yes, I am now better informed and he will be fine.
We all practiced with the trainer shot pen on him too so any of us can administer the shot if needed.

There are a LOT of bees and other stinging critters out there. 
Makes me nervous, but I suppose you/he can't let the potential threat stop him from living life.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Red sky in the morning

and they say 
Sailors take warning.

As seen from my office window.

My camera couldn't quite capture how spectacular it really was.

Here's to a good week :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Salsa and more

While picking my tomato's yesterday morning I had the biggest HEEBIE JEEBIE moment!
Reaching in to get a clutch of carolina golds and I notice something unusual draped throughout the area.
It's a snake skin about 18" long!!
Talk about gross.
Snakes crawling over and around my tomatoes.
Sure it's nature and the garden is outside, but still ish.

Yes, it's true I'm a wuss about some things - I gave that tomato to Dodger instead of using it in my salsa.

I ended up with 5 pints of sweet med yellow and 6 pints of med hot red.
A good day's work.
Wouldn't you know it too, my new food processor showed up just as I was done and cleaning up the kitchen. 
It's a monster. Going to be a breeze chopping shit with that.

This morning while surfing for a recipe I came across this article regarding changes in canning lids.
Apparently the gasket in the lids used to contain BPA - they've removed that nasty chemical and replaced it with a material called plastisol which if heated too much can cause the gasket to thin out give you a poor seal that wont last long. 

Who knew?
Not me - yes I simmered my lids yesterday. 
These first batches of salsa never last long so I'm not worried about the seals lasting; however I will be more conscious about how much I heat my lids going forward. 


We lost our calf a few weeks ago due to unknown causes. 
The Hubby is very bummed.
Mama cow was inconsolable.
We put her in with the horses and that has helped her considerably.
She and Gypsy have become good buddies.
The Hubby says he is getting out of the cow business this fall.
He is done.
 Which is good and bad.

Supposed to get up to 92* today with a real feel of 100* due to the high humidity. 
Sounds like a day to spend in the pool. 

later aligator

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday AM coffee

 It's been a long week. 

I got my first batch of salsa and tomato sauce done last Sunday.
Some how I managed to forget that at the end of last canning season my food processor broke, so I ended up using my little 2 cup blender attachment food processor for chopping the tomato's.
It worked just fine, but sure made the tomato part a long ass process. 
First batch is a mild sweet yellow salsa. It looks pretty cool not having any red tomato's in it.

 I've got a new giant 12 cup food processor ordered and it should be here by Tuesday and even without the new food processor I'm making another batch or two of salsa today. 
The tomatos are ready and there's no way am I going to let them go to waste since most folks in our area are having a dismal tomato season. I'll get what all I need done then see if anyone wants the rest. 

I totally crashed from exhaustion on Monday after work. 
I think it took me until Wednesday to recover from hauling hay and canning.

I managed to get some kind of hay rash on my forearms that made my arms welt and incredibly itchy. Sure was a pain in the ass. Thankfully it resolved quickly.

The last half of our week has been hot and humid as hell. 
Dodger likes to lay on the garage floor to cool off. 
Silly guy takes that ball with him everywhere and if he miss places it he'll just haul around an apple. 
He has picked a few green ball sized tomatos and attempted to use them for fun as well, but doesn't like how they taste as much as the apples apparently.

While doing dishes the other night I looked out the window and got a grand surprise!
A gorgeous Sandhill Crane!
It didn't hang around long - glad I manged to get a few pictures before it flew off.

Colton has one week of work left, then it's back to school for him. 
It's been wonderful having him home again.

Alright, I'm off to get this tomato thing started. 
Have a good day!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday AM coffee

We finished the hay yesterday, about an hour before it started raining.
In total we got 441 bales!
The barn is full.
That is satisfaction.
Knowing you've got enough hay for the winter plus a bunch, maybe even enough for a year or more. 
Isn't that aweseome?!?!

Never lost a bale while driving home either and the truck/trailer were loaded heavy every trip.
The most we got on the truck was 46 and on the trailer was 110.
The old green truck can sure pull a load and to think Caden was driving it most of the time loaded like that. 

Found a salamander while unloading in the barn. 

The last haul out was light compared to previous loads, only 49.

So glad we are done with hay for a long while.
Now we can start thinking about getting wood for winter. 

I'll be making my first batch of salsa this morning. 
I almost had the day off from work on Thursday due to a power then internet outage and was going to make it then, but right as I was going to start skinning the tomato's the internet was restored so it was back to work for me. 
Bummer cuz I was all geared up to do it.

Alrighty then. 
I'm off to make the salsa. 
Have a good one!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's hay time...

If you are a large animal owner you know that having a barn full of hay is the absolute best feeling in the world. 
The last few years we haven't had good hay crops in our area so what was available was quite expensive. 
Which is what precipitated the Hubby's decision to sell off most of the cows last fall. 

Imagine our surprise when a good friend of ours said we could have their hay that they didn't need since they no longer had horses for the price of gas and bailing twine.

I was giddy with excitement when I heard the news. 

Yesterday after work we started.
First load home was 85 bales.
We had Chyann driving the truck while The Hubby, Caden and I stacked and loaded.
This was kind of an ugly load, that trailer is funky.

Course for the next load Chyann had somewhere to be so it was up to Caden who had NEVER driven the truck before to drive while the Hubby and I loaded and stacked. 
He did a hell of a good job.

Our load as we were heading home from the second trip.
Don't know how many we ended up with on this load since we ran out of daylight while unloading, but I bet it's 130.

And we've got a lot more bales to get today.
I'm guessing 350+.
Our barn will never have been so full before.
We are stacking tight and it'll probably be up to the ceiling before we are done.  

Caden and Shasta taking a water break. 
Today I think he is going to bring Dodger.

Surprisingly I'm not even sore today. 
I do however have some serious allergy congestion going on which is what woke me up waay too early this am. 
Wishing Colton and Chyann were around this weekend to lend a hand, but what do you do. We'll get it done. 

Happy hay day folks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Animal Friday

Chyann found Bobbi Jo snoozing away in a tiny box.
Pretty cute.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cooling off

Shasta getting some swim time in with Caden.

Dodger jumping off the side of the porch to

come around the other side briefly

and back up on the porch.
He watches intently.
Really wanting to get in, but can't quite bring himself to jump in.
So he watches.

The Hubby says he thinks the pool has a hole in it somewhere because it's always needing a half inch. of water.
I say maybe it does BUT it  could be that the chemical level is off and therefor allowing for more evaporation or the amount the kids splash out when they get to thrashing in it and I'm sure Dodger leaning in and getting a drink doesn't help either. 
Let's hope it doesn't actually have a hole.
Because I don't know that we'd replace it if it does.
Then what, I do not know.
Until then me and the kids will continue to enjoy it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My new thing

The first Saturday in August we spent the day going to thrift sales.
Towards the end of the day we happened upon a sale that had a wine making kit.
It said make offer on it for a price. 
I've thought for a while now it would be pretty fun to make wine, but haven't really done any research into getting started doing it so I had no idea what the kit would be worth BUT I knew I only  had about 30 bucks left cash. 
So I said to the guy would he take 30?
He thought about it and then said he paid over a hundred for it and someone offered him 50 yesterday so he'd want 40. 
Well sorry I only had 30.
We left. 
The Hubby says we'll run to the bank and get more cash.
I said naah, don't worry about it.

We get home that night and of course all I can thing about is that wine kit.
It might have been my big deal of the summer. 

Next morning I surf the internet and find that just one of the big glass carboys could go for 50 bucks a piece.
Dang it.
I wondered if the garage sale was open Sunday.
Around here most sales are on Thru, Fri and sat - rarely sundays.

I finally found the add and of course it wasn't going to be open on Sunday BUT there was a link to email the folks who placed the add. 
Imagine my surprise that within a few minutes I had a response.
It wasn't her wine kit, but a neighbors and she'd talk with them to see if the kit was still available then get back to me.
That night I finally heard that it was available and we could pick it up tomorrow!
YAY I'm super excited!
There will be wine making in my future!

Next day the Hubby stops there after work and no one is home at the address we were given, but the gal I talked to via email noticed him at the neighbors place and goes out to talk to him saying she can't believe the neighbors weren't home after they told her this would be a good time to get the kit.
Anyhow he gives the neighbor our phone number and says we'll if they want to sell it, have them give us a call.

Then nothing for days.
I assumed they had decided to just keep the kit.
No biggie, but dang I kicked myself for not just getting the damn kit when I had the chance. 

Imagine my surprise when the phone rang days later and it was the guy with the kit saying sorry about not being home something unexpected came up and did I still want the kit?


and went to get it right then.

4 gallon carboys, 2 giant (6 or 8 gallon I think) carboys, a fermenting bucket that is stuffed with wine making essentials all for a whopping 40 bucks!
Definitely the deal of the summer!

I've been doing a lot of reading on how to make wine, what all the gadgets do and even what all I might still need to make a batch. 

There is a shop in Eau Claire that has wine making class for beginners so I think I'll enroll and see what's what.

I'm excited to start!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Going Batty

The week started off with a knock at my bedroom door at 2am.
Chyann stood there in the dark with her phone - which has a flash light on it apparently.
She says Mom there's a bird in the attic, listen to this - at which point she plays a recording of what sounds like a bird flapping and running into walls then making the occasional squeak.
Not much to do about the situation at 2am right?
Go back to bed. 
Next day the Hubby goes on the bird hunt in the attic, only to discover a bat hanging upside down and snoozing. He got a jar and gently put him in it. That evening right at twilight he and Caden went and released him near the barn. 
Colton said he thought it was a brown bat, which are quite beneficial in eating insects like wasps and moths.

My garden is doing pretty good. 
I'm eating tomato's everyday. 
Haven't had enough ripe at once to make anything with yet. 
All that wet we had at the beginning of the summer sure got the lady apple to tree on the right growing and it is now shading a row of tomato's.  Course that row isn't doing the best. It's got a lot of good sized fruit, but nothing ripe and the plants are noticeably smaller than the other row. Definitely going to have to trim the tree back this fall. I'd do it now, but its loaded with fruit and with my luck I'd end up killing the tree. 

I've got the itch to start canning.
 I got my jars sorted and arranged yesterday and even found a few jars in the way back of my cabinet from 2011, which I disposed of. Can't imagine how they hid from me for so long.
From last years harvest I have a total of 1 quart and 1 pint of salsa left, eight kosher pickles, two relishes and two jalapenos. 
 In addition to salsa, I think I'll try my hand a ketchup.


Ol' Dodger now he loves apples.

I've been trying to get him on video.
He does the funniest thing I've ever seen a dog do.
He'll jump up into the apple tree branches, pick an apple then throw it up in the air - fetch it himself and roll on it. Repeat about a dozen times and finally eat the apple. 
The whole time he'll be squealing and barking in delight.


Three weeks until school starts. 
I think all the kids are ready to get back into the routine or maybe they just really like the whole school shopping part. Gotta have new shit ya know. 


All else is well here. 
later :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday AM coffee

August already.
Doesn't seem like we've had a lot of summer just yet.
I'm hoping we'll get some of those fabled "dog days" of summer this month.

Colton has been on a camping adventure in the "North Woods" (northern wi) with a bunch of friends since Wednesday.
He said he'd check in once in a while while he was gone and of course he hasn't been in contact since the day after he left. I'm sure he's fine, but there have been some whopper storms go through that area just about every day that have dropped massive hail, caused flash floods and had extreme winds. So you know me, I'm gonna worry some.

A first for Chyann the other night. One of her friends showed up here and invited her to go to a neighboring town that is having their summer fair and hang out. She asked me if she could go and I said ask your Dad. Cuz I knew he'd say no and it wouldn't be me being the mean parent. Imagine my surprise when she comes back in the house to get her purse because Dad said she could go. She was only gone for a few hours and had a great time, but you know that one thing is the start of her wanting more independence. sigh.

No big plans for the weekend here. I'm not even going to mow. Might work on cleaning out the barn - maybe. I'd rather go shopping or hit some thrift sales though. Decisions decisions. Until I decide I'll just sit here and enjoy my coffee. Have a good one.