Monday, December 27, 2010

Hobby and what I made for Christmas for Terri

On the long winter nights when its too cold to do much outside, I like to play around with my scroll saw. And this is a door topperI made for Terri for Christmas. The bear was cut out of recycled wood and is a segmentation cut. After cutting, each section out, its sanded and the edges are rounded and spacers are placed behind certain ares to raise them above the surface. Then its painted and finished.

And here it is after the first couple of coats of polyurethane. I have to admit that I did not do the painting! Terri is so much better at it then I am!!!. Is it a bad thing to ask her to paint her own gift? She enjoys painting and like I said, She is soooooooooo much better at it then I am!
There are are also a set of claws that I made to go with it. The Bear will go above her bedroom door looking out over the living room and the claws will go on ether side of the door. Its suppose to look like the bear is in the bedroom looking over the door. I really like doing stuff like this and her living room is decorated in the North Woods thyme. Moose and Bear's as far as the eye can see!
Just though I would give you a look see.

December 25, 26 and 27

Sunrise Christmas morning. Temperatures in the low 30's, No white Christmas. Went to Terri's house and helped to fix the Christmas meal. Opened Christmas gifts. I got "Pioneer Woman's" Cook Book. And I have already tried two of her recipes (Apple Dumplings and Almond Roca!). The cook book is written just like her Blog. And the recipes look pretty straight forward and easy.
Lots of fun and good times with family and friends. Good food and Good people, how can you go wrong?
I had to work that night and as I left the house it was starting to snow. This was about 2000 and as I drove the 60 miles to work it got heaver and started to stick. I watched the snow come down all night and about 0430 the temperatures started to drop and the parking lot turned white in just a few minutes. I got off work at 0715 and what is usually a hour and fifteen minute drive, turned into over 3 Hours.

And this is what it looked like when I got home! It snowed for over 24 hours and we got about 18 inches. I have lived in this area for 30 years and never had a white Christmas or this much snow at one time. And never this early in the season!.

And it just keeped coming down!

This is looking across the front yard to the house across the road. At this point no snow plows have come Thu to clear the road and the snow blanket is undistubed my man or beast.

This is sunrise on the 27th. The snow had stopped during the early morning hours  and the sun was able to break Thu the clouds. What a beautiful morning! Cold and quite.

The sun just hitting the tops of the trees and not a mark in the snow.

But that was about to change! The two knucklehead's had to get out in it and leave their mark!! At this point it was 27 degrees and after they did their thing and ran around chasing phantom rabbits, They were ready to get back in the house and have breakfast. Me too for that matter! Its pretty, but ho so cold!!

Daisy can attest to that. Once back in the house she spent 20 minutes getting the snow and ice out from between her toes. Silly Dog!! But she had fun! and that's all that matters to her.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and Are looking forward to the new year with anticipation. I know the worms and I are!
Talk to you later.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I shoud have kept my big mouth shut!

This is what happened a week ago last monday. And as I said "This does not happen here". Not this time of year.
I know this isn't much and it did not last long. It was mostly gone by late afternoon. But it stayed cold and it got down into the teens at night. Alot of people's car locks were frozen.
And even the worm bed was frozen with ice and frost across the top.
But then it happened again yesterday! This is what I arrived home to at 0800. It was coming down pretty good and it covered the ground  in very short order. When I went to bed around 0930 (I work nights) it was still coming down. The kids got a day out of school and alot of places were closed.
And this is what it looked like when I got up around 1430. The tempreture was around 34 degrees and there was some melting. But last nights low was 30 and everything froze over again.
Like I said "I should have kept my mouth shut"! Talk about it and it will happen! Now the 10 day forcast calls for snow showers on Christmas eve. I have not had a white Chrismas sense I lived in Iowa in 1996 - 98. I have to addmit that I hope it happens! Nothing like Chistmas with Family and friends, in a nice warm house with a fire going in the fire place and muld-cider on the stove!
Merry Christmas YA'ALL! From North Carolina!.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Desert

I have several Farm Blogs that I follow and I try some of the recipes I find. Well I tried one last night and BOY was it great! I love food and have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, But I have to watch the sugar intake. So when I try a new recipe and it calls for sugar, I substitute  with SPLINDA. I find that it holds up to the cooking and there is no after taste. Also this recipe calls for a strange ingredient that I would never have though to use (diet MONT Dew!). I got the recipe from "Pioneer Woman" at her Blog site, If you have never been to her Blog, Hers was voted the "The Best Written Blog" for 2009 and she has been Blogging sense 2006. Lots of great photos and stories. She is a wife and mother of 4 living and working on a cattle ranch in OK. To say that this is my favorite Blog is an understatement! I had seen her Blog refereed to at other sites, but didn't visit her site until after I saw her on the "Food Channel" in an episode of "Throw down with Bobby Flay". He got his butt kicked again and I went to Ree's site that night! I have gone back to the first post and read everything from there. I've made it up to January 2009 and when I finish the "Confessions" section, I will really get into her "Cooking" section.
Anyway here is the recipe as is from her site.

Apple Dumplings

2 cooking apples
2 can crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (Again I used SPLINDA)
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 12 oz can Mountain Dew (Not an ingredient I would normally bake with).

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

1. Butter a 9 X 11 baking pan.
2. Peel and core apples. Slice each apple into 8ths.
3. roll out crescent rolls and separate. Place one slice of the apple on dough and roll up as for rolls and place into prepared pan. You will end up with 16 rolls.
4. Melt butter and dump in the sugar and barely stir it in (leave it lumpy!) and the vanilla.
5. Pour this mixture around the rolls in the pan.
6. Pour the Mountain Dew around the edges and down the middle of the pan (not over the rolls) and sprinkle on the cinnamon.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown, Let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream and a drizzle of the sauce from the pan! This is so good you will have to beat them off with a stick to get any for yourself!!!!
Mountain Dew, Who woulda thunk it? But it makes a great sauce.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This does not happen here!


This is the back 40 (only about 2,5 acres) and as you can see it needs a lot of work. But I kept telling myself that I would get to it later. Well later came and went and its still there. Now it will have to Wait till spring. The Bush-hog is down, needing repairs and the tractor is no fun ride in those cold tempertures.

This is looking across Marks place to the cotton field on the far side. That field was harvested just a few weeks ago and thay have stared to Bush-hog it for the winter. Some fields around here have not been done yet and if the weather does not warm up and get drier, the crops will be lost.

That's the back of my house. Can you tell the warmest part of the roof? Right over the stairs leading up to the second floor. Again by noon this was all gone. But still very cold.

The worm bed cover got its share of the snow.

But the inside is pretty full. I need to add some food stuff and new bedding tho. I hope to pull some of the worms out of here and transfer them to a tote I can move into the house for the winter. That way if the bed does freeze, I will not lose all the worms. I have a tote in the utility room now with about 3 lbs of worms in it. That one will get new food/bedding tomorrow. Torn newsprint and pizza boxes I think, along with paper towel rolls and egg cartons.

But like I said, This does not happen here!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A trip back in time

lets take a trip back in time to October of 2007. This is a picture of the 15 acres of the corn field where we now live. It was sub-divided into 5 lots, each approx 3 acres in size. My lot is the second from the top. And Marks is the top one.

Here is a vew from the back of the two lots looking back out to the road. Thats Terri in the picture and she is standing on thier lot with mine to the right of the picture. Nothing but weeds and a little grass

And here is the front half of my  house being lifted into place on the foundation. It was pretty cool to watch this all take place. The whole house was built in a factory in two halves and loaded onto two flat-bed trailers and transported to the build site. It took a crane and a 6-man crew one full day to get it into place and close it up.

And here the crane starts to lift the first half into place.

Almost there. This is the back of the house consisting of the master bedroom, living room, second bath and the second bedroom.

And this is the front half consisting of the Master bath, utility room, kitchen/dinning room and the front porch (whitch is really on the side of the house). You can also see the trailler that this half came on and the front of the truck that towed it here

And here it is sitting on the foundation. This is the front porch end of the house. The roof still needs to be lifted into place and the sidding put on.
The roof was built at the fractory and laid flat across the top  to make transport eaiser. So once the house was on the foundation, the crane lifted one half of the roof into place and the work crew braced and crossed brased it and then fasened it into place.

And here is the back side in place. The crane is still holding it up as the work crew finishes nailing it into place

Roof inplace and the end-cap lifted up and placed. Notice anything missing? There is suppost to be a window in this end-cap. They forgot to construct a window opening at the factory for them (one each end). They had to order them from the factory and they were put in place the next day.
As can also  be seen in this picture, I had the roof built at a 7 - 12 pitch. This gives me a second floor room the full lenght of the house and almost as wide, Its unfinished and I can do what ever I want up there. Right now it is just a storage space and one end I use as my wood-working space.

Here is a shot from inside of that room as they are still working on closing it up.

I have been in the house for three years now and for the most part I'm pretty happy with it. There are some things that could have been put together better, But that's for another post

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Canning Apples

We were getting down to the bottom of the box at this point. We picked this up at a road side stand, as we have no apple trees of our own. They were Vagina Gold and Fungi.

Once there were peeled and chopped, we placed them into a big pot of water and lemon juice so they would not turn brown. We left some skin on for color and texture.

Terri chopping and peeling

Dodger had to give his approval. He liked them.......A LOT!!!

This may look like apple skins and cores to most people, But the worms will love it. I will add this to the worm bed as food that they will consume very quickly.

Once chopped and allowed to set in the water/lemon juice for a few minuets, four cups of apples were placed into a measuring cup and cooked in the microwave on high for 6 minuets. Then placed into a food processor to make apple sauce. And then this mixture was placed into a double boiler on top of the stove to keep it hot until we had enough to fill pint jars and run through the cannier. 10 minuets in a water bath cannier and left to cool and seal on a towel on the counter.

And we had 28 pints of apple sauce. This turned out to be pretty good stuff. We used Splenda as the sweetener, as we don't need the added sugar. And I like it after it has set in the refrigerator to chill down and eat it right from the jar! We also use it in cake recipes in place of the oil. The cakes are wonderfully moist and it adds flavor and texture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


For those of you that do not live in farm country or in an area where hogs and chickens are raised, I will tell you about the P.U. trucks.
The commercial farms here in north east North Carolina and south east Virginia where hogs and chickens are raised by the hundreds in confinement buildings where sanitation is very poor at best, the animals live in or close to there own body wastes. When they reach market size, they are loaded onto trucks for transport to locale processing plants. And if they are on the road ahead of you, you can smell them for miles!!
I was on my way home from work yesterday and I could smell pig and knew that a Pew truck was ahead of me.
Now I had two choices, 1. slow down and let the distance from the truck widen (in the hopes that the smell would slaken some), or 2. matain the speed limit (or a little above) and try to get around him further down the road. Well I had just gotten off work after 8 hours on the 3rd shift and a 1 1/2 hour drive home and I really wanted to get to bed. I choose # 2.
At 60 mph, it took me another 15 minuets to pull up behind him. At this point, my eyes were watering and trying to breath through my mouth did not help! And wouldn't you know it, traffic coming the other way was spaced just right so I could not pass him!(like they say "the best laid plains of mice and men!!!).
I was stuck behind him for 10 or 15 mins more before I got to the turn off that takes me into Ahoskie and home.
Even after I made the turn, the smell was still with me. And when I got home, I had to put my work cloths into the hamper and take the hamper to the utility room so it wasn't in my bedroom. Talk about RANK
In some states it is eligal to spread hog manure on crop fields unless it is mixed with other materials or watered down, and even then it must be turned under ASAP to control the smell.
At least it helped to keep me awake on the trip home. YUK and PEW!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random thoughts.

Here is a picture of the compost tumbler I built and behind it is the horse manure I use to pre-compost kitchen scraps before feeding it all to the worms. The heat produced by the manure and the absorption of the sun kills most of the weed seeds that are in the manure and they will not germinate when used in the garden later.
I got the barrels off Crags List for $25.00 and was going to use them as part of a rain water collection system, but with no rain gutters on the house (another money project for later!) I put this stand together in an afternoon. The lumber is some that I pick up for free and I get a truck load as often as I can. The place I get it from is near where I work and they would rather I took it then send it to the land fill.
The system works pretty well. I load it up to the point where it gets hard to turn and let it compost for about two weeks (turning every few days) and then dump it out, run it all through a sift box I have built for that purpose and then layer it into the worm bed along with bedding material. The worms seem to like it and the migrate into the new stuff a a few days.
The box I have now ( 3' X 7" X 14") is getting pretty crowded now and I will have to build a new one soon. The box is near full with Black Gold (worm casings) and worms and I will harvest both when the new box is finished. I will split up the worms into each box and layer in new bedding and food materiel's to hopefully get them through the cold months ahead and come next spring, two new boxes will be built (for a total of 4 beds) and the worms will have doubled in numbers.
I will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Very late post

I know, its been along time since the last post and there a a few reasons why.
First I was having problems getting my computer to run and I still do not know how to get pictures attached to the posts yet (I know that you that do it every day do it without thinking, but you had to learn it to!).
Time is also a factor, I have to make time to get a post written and there are only so many hours in the day. The main time consumer is my off the farm job. I have to commute 2 1/2 hours round trip (115 miles!) and then 8 hours at the job (or more if there is overtime). Then when I get home, The dogs, cats and worms need to be feed and watered and the dogs need some outside time. I can't let Bela out to run free or she would head for the horizon and I would not see her for hours (If at all!) and deer season is open and there are deer dogs running around the woods at all hours of the day and night. If she got hooked up with a bunch of them, no telling what would happen.
I also have an addition! FRONTIERVILLE on face book! I have been playing this game for a few months now and I go through withdrawals if I don't get to play at least once a day! Right now I have peanuts to harvest and cotton too. Not to mention helping out my neighbors out on their homestead. If you are not playing this game, I know what you are saying "Move away from the game and get other things done!" But if you do play, you understand.
Also there are several Farm Bogs that I read, just to see what other people are doing and how they handle things. The main ones I follow are:
"Red Worm Composting" (Bentley is my Mentor and always has an answer to all my questions concerning worms. If you are interested, He has a great hand-out on his web-site and its a PDF file and the right price - FREE!!!).

"Bee Haven Acres" They raise Fainting goats, mini-horses, Bees and Chickens. This is a great Blog with lots of pictures. I recommend going to the first post and read it all the way from there. She has a great writing ability and she loves what she is doing!

"14 Acres" This is a suburban family who moved to the farm a few years back. They raise produce and make wood-fired bread for their locale farmers market. This a family that "TMEN" use to refer to as "Those that are doing it"! I really like this one!

"Scrouneman" This guy is funny and also has a great way of telling the story! His has a great N8 tractor and has built or re-built the implements he works the land with. Dairy cows and goats, chickens and barn cats galore. Makes me smile just to think about some of his stories!

"Garden now - Think later" This one is written by a military wife with a husband who is deployed a lot and two small boys to raise. She grows a lot of produce in her back yard and also belongs to a locale CSA. Her life in general and she invites you to share part of it with her. Great pictures and a really nice Blog all the way around!

I could keep going, But the list is really long and I will add to the list in future posts.

Ok, Lets talk WORMS! The out- side bed (wooden box is 3' X 7" X 14') is doing well. I started back in April with 5,000 bed run worms (worms of all sizes) and the bed is getting crowded! If I were to make a guess at numbers - between 15 and 20,000 now. A few week ago I sorted out about 3 lbs of worms and 10 lbs of worm casings. I am concerned with the cold this winter. If last year was any indication, the bed could freeze this year and all the worms lost. So what I am doing is taking the worms out of this bed a little at a time and setting them up in a 30 gallon tote in my utility room off the kitchen. This makes it easy to feed them and to make sure they have enough water in the bed (not to wet, but not to dry either!).
The worm casings that I got out were placed into a 5 gallon bucket to cure a little and we used them in a home made growing medium we used to plant Crape Muttles last night. And the funny thing about this is during the time the bucket sat in the shed, eggs hatched and babies worms were doing their thing. This tells me that there were a lot of eggs in the compost pulled from the bed and that there are a lot more still in there.
Worm eggs are like chicken eggs. They hatch in 21 days, as long as the conditions are right. But if the temps drop and even freeze, they can take up to 3 months to hatch. So when the temps rise next spring, I could have meny more worms in that out- side bed!
So I guess that's enough of me running my mouth for now. But I will be back to start it up again soon.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Had to make a move

Hey everybody,
Because of the new requirement from blogger to use a Google account to be able to access my blog, I had to set up a new account and shut down the old blog. So now I have to start fresh and try to incorprate some of the old posts here and add new ones. So if you are new to this Blog and want to see the old posts they are at "".
I was not very dillagent with posts in the past, but I hope that with the new blog I will make time in my schedule to get a new post in every day or so.
For thoes of you visiting for the first time, welcome! And I hope that you will come back offten to see how the worms are doing. Yes I said WORMS! Here on the farm I have started adding livestock with a herd of WORMS. Back in april I started with approx 5,000 "RED WIGGLERS" and now I would estamate that thier numbers are real close to 20,000 now. And they have been helping me reduce the amount of trash that I have been sending to the locale landfill. Because they eat all that I can produce. But more about that in a later post.
I know this is short for the first post, but I need some time to sort thrw the posts I made before and the pictures I want to post here.
So, I will talk to you later.