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Archive for October 15th, 2009

 

*Queen and her filly *Magnolia

*Queen and her filly *Magnolia

 Not a phrase we use often here in Texas. We are generally always willing to take more – even when we have had plenty. God has blessed our area with lots of rain these last 6 weeks, and we are grateful!!! There is a little “bounce” in most folks’ steps these days – even the ones that are not farmers – for our area relies a lot on farming.  We have done our own bouncing around our farm….and singing and smiling, and trying to make the most of our moist land.  I learned how to drill grain. And I LOVE to drill grain! The men in our family will be hard pressed to keep me out of the tractor seat next fall! We put in some winter wheat so the Curlies will have some green forage this winter…..they love it when we do that!  I also broadcast Marshall Ryegrass and Crimson Clover seed over most of the winter pasture land that was not drilled.  All three varieties are coming up well and looking great! I’m sure these will be a welcome addition to the hay we will be feeding this winter. There’s nothing like getting a green “smile” from a Curly in late January!

Our sweet *Mallie Berndtie

Our sweet *Mallie Berndtie

And we brought in the last of the hay. The skies were threatening rain, but a wonderful hay crew helped us out, and stacked 560 beautiful bales neatly in our barn. Thanks guys! My father-in-law was running the baler, Charles on the rake, and the hay crew coming right behind them as soon as the bales were dropped. It was a beautiful sight to behold, and if you have ever gotten to haul hay – you know what it does to you – somehow it just makes you feel good all the way through, even if muscles are aching…..and that wonderful smell is sweetly invigorating!!! I love bringing in the hay!!!

*Mikade ~ sooty buckskin extraordinare!

*Mikade ~ sooty buckskin extraordinare!

The huge manure pile got turned. I won’t go into any details here, except to say that it is going to be a LOT of organic fertilizer!!!  Some fences and pens got spiffed up; I planted some bluebonnet seed along the drive and on the hill across the creek; the pig got out….twice; daffodil bulbs went in out front; the new mint varieties are growing well; our two at home kids have kept us busy chasing football, cross country and church activities…….

Starling ~ a lovely grulla filly!

Starling ~ a lovely grulla filly!

 I blew out 46 candles – my wicked family just had to put every one of them on there – it was a small inferno; and the Curlies, wow! have they ever kept things hopping!  Painted Princess is now at the quarantine, and will soon make her new home in France! Congratulations Aline and family!  Our beautifully handsome Aren Daego is now at home in Pennsylvania – thanks Riana!

*Stag Creek Magnolia

*Stag Creek Magnolia

We hear updates that Crow is being ridden in the mountains – can’t wait to see photos!  And the babies are starting to curl! Wow, I LOVE it when those winter coats start coming in – curly or not……they always look so “mustangy” with their winter coats on…..I just love it when they look like that!  All the cloudy and rainy weather we have had lately has them starting a bit early this year it seems.  Yesterday was “bright and fair”, so I got some newer photos of some of the youngsters…..those are what you see here.

Happy trails!

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From the land…

Texas state fruit - Prickly Pear

The Texas state fruit - Prickly Pear

I like that don’t you. I really love harvesting things from our land – wood for the fireplaces, herbs to dry, hay for the horses…..and I have also always loved putting up preserves – blackberry, wild plum, Mustang grape, crabapple, pyracantha…..and truthfully – the wilder the better! 

 So last week, I decided to try my hand using the only fruit our land produced this year – that of the Prickly Pear Cactus.  Now this is not your regular old wild fruit that you can send the kids out to pick with a bucket in each hand……there are some tiny spines involved, and caution has to be used.  So off I headed to the pasture on a misty day – tongs in hand, and a big tub for my harvest.  I also took along some hay to layer in the tub – in order to minimize the transferring of spines from one fruit to the other.

Harvested fruits

Harvested fruits

  Now right about now, all you Curly horse fans are wondering “how’s this going to work?”  You are right – their curious nature got the best of them, and I had plenty of help!  More than once did Mylie and Morning Dove try to eat the hay from my tub, and Constance and Two Sundys were sure these “apples” would now be safe to eat since “mom” had picked them for us. Persistance pays off though, and after lots of hugs and scratches, they decided to go back to eating the rain soaked grass, and the harvest went great! 

The next step was to burn the spines from the fruit.  A small fire down by the goat yard was built, and each fruit held into the flame until the skins looked smooth.  A follow-up scrubbing at the kitchen sink left little chance for any “prickles” to linger.

Cleaned fruits ready to become jelly!

Cleaned fruits ready to become jelly!

The fruits were then ready for processing. Slicing and boiling in water rendered a beautiful crimson juice – 3 and 1/2 gallons to be exact!  Once the jars were washed and sterilized, the jelly making commenced!  Two days and almost 100 jars later, I turned my water bath canner over to dry – the “fruit” of my labor evident by the stacks of pretty red jelly lining my table. 

I had never even tasted Prickly Pear Jelly before, but am a huge fan of it’s unique flavor now.  And by the sticky smiles on my family’s faces, they are too! 

 
 
98 1/2 jars of crimson sweetness!

98 1/2 jars of crimson sweetness!

If the Carroll pantry was threatening to run low of homemade preserves – that threat is now gone!

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Dishes or dogs?

Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

If I don’t get the dishes done today, it is not my fault……who can think of doing housework when you have this face staring at you? Last May, enter into our lives this Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen – or PBGV for short….he belongs to my youngest……who of course, went off to school and left me with babysitting duties…..not that I mind.  Liam…..that’s his name – and he fully lives up to the breeds nickname – “the happy hound”. Of course he doesn’t look “happy” here does he?  He has a way of putting those eyes on you, and you find yourself doing things that you didn’t mean to do……like taking his picture for the 1,287,956th time.   Our local vet clinic has him down as an Otter Hound – because they don’t have PBGV in their computer…….but Liam doesn’t like otters……he likes RABBITS! He is a French rabbit hound, and we expect that the grass will be growing taller around the barn now, as Liam has a “No Rabbits Allowed” rule that he strictly enforces. We are in stitches with laughter at least once a day from his antics. If you ever want to have clean dishes again, do not let your child buy one of these dogs.

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