We are in full swing for fair

Summer is sadly dwindling down.

Honestly it will feel over on Monday.

Daily football practices start.  Matching band the following week.

Judging for still projects is next Sunday.  This means, although they haven’t procrastinated much this summer,  they are all scrambling to finish project books.

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Amanda is busy baking her last loaves of bread for “Yeast Breads”.

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Kneading dough

Mike has three projects (his choice) so he overwhelmed.  He is done with “Fun with Flight”.  Almost done with Grill Master”.  But he still has activities for “Tractor 3”

Daily haltering of calves and steer is very time consuming.  At least an hour in the barn every evening.

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Walking feeder calves

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Every now and then you just get a great picture. Amanda with Frosty.

Livestock interview judging is in 2 weeks.  Kids need to get busy studying.

While I love fair, this nonstop chaos is exhausting!

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Getting to be a jungle

Zucchini are out of control.  Huge, non stop production.

Miss one for a day and suddenly the zucchini are 18″ long.

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When they accidently get this big we feed them to the pigs and cows.

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Chopping oversized cucumber and zucchini for the pigs

The pigs squeal and run to the gate when they see me walking from the garden.

I cook zucchini with almost every meal.  Honestly!  They even get scrambled in my morning eggs.   I havent heard too many protests yet, but the kids portions are much smaller then they used to be.  Burned out!  I have loaves of bread in the  freezer along with many quart bags of shredded zucchini.

The tomatoes are loaded with mostly green fruit.  But we are struggling with blossum end rot.

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Blossom end rot on a small ripe tomato

Watermelon and cantaloupe are getting bigger.  I hate not knowing when to pick them. 

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Almost ready?

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Basketball sized sugar baby

The peppers are doing well, they are so heavy with fruit they need staked.

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Hungarian hot peppers. There are 18 ripe on this little plant!

I clearly didn’t space everything far enough apart.

It is hard to walk in the garden because there no spaced between plants!

Lessons learned for next year.

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Cantaloupe, peppers, tomatoes

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Dinosaur sized zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes

I am blushing….thank you

Andi from Will Cook for Food  nominated me for The inspiring blogger award.

 

To share this award with others that inspire you first must share 7 things about yourself that wouldn’t normally come up in your blog, then pass the award on to some other inspiring bloggers

 

So,7 things about me:

 

1. I am the youngest of 9 children

2. I am an Emergency Room RN.  Therefore not too much grosses me out!

3. I spent 6yrs in the Navy

4. I lived in Japan for 2 yrs

5. My idea of perfect junk food is freshly cooked tortilla chips, homemade salsa and a corona with lime. Put this snack on a long dock  in the Caribean with my husband at my side? My idea of heaven!

6. I want to visit Alaska

7. When I was young I thought I would go to vet school, specialize in exotic animals and work in a zoo.

 

I have a very scattered listof bloogers that inspire me!  They range from homesteading, to cooking, to hiking/kayaking sites.

 

Modern Farm Wife I love her fresh look at farming from someone that didn’t growup in the dairy industry

Lightly Cruchy  She is wonderful, down to earth and believable

Sassy Southern Living  Wise beyond her 22 yrs, wonderful supporter of 4H

Mom on a Veggie Mission  She cracks me up with her determination to get her sons to eat healthier

Acadian Soul a woman who moved to Acadian National Park to rediscover herself after her husband passed away

Seeking Joyful Simplicity Her blog reminds me to slowdown and living in today, finding joy in the moment

Wind Against the Current beautiful photography from a kayak in NYC

Year of Living Healthier  a family of three tries to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget

Soulsby Farm a small Ohio farm that avoids all GMOs

 

And there are so many more, but those inspire me today!

 

 

 

 

 

All work and no play

My kids certainly enjoy summer. 

Although the animals take up a lot of time, we manage to slip out for lots of fun.

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Rob with the kids on the power tower.

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Millennium Force, a favorite roller coaster

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Kids with their cousins on a water ride.

We have season passes to Cedar Point, an amusement park about 1 hour away.

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Running down to the river to go tubing

We have a camper and try to take a few week long trips a year.  During the summer we camp locally so we can run home to feed the animals.   Thankfully there is a great state park nearby with a river for tubing, mountain bike trails, fishing, and lots of relaxing.

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Mohican state park

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Zoey sleeping with one of the kids in the camper

We tend to camp further from home during spring break. We have camped in the Smokies, Florida, and South Carolina. Next year we are headed back to Florida, this time to St Andrews State Park.

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Riding bikes at Henderson State Park, Destin, FL

Sports also take a big part in the kids lives.

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Amanda playing first base on varsity softball team.

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Mike with his football team

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Dan catching

And, although only Mike enjoys kayaking with me, I do try to get out regularly.

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Kayaking in Charles Mill Lake

I love the animals, but glad the kids stay involved in extras!

Peek into a busy morning of chores

We are camping this week, so everyone has to get up early, stumble, yawning to the car and drive home for chores.

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Asleep and not wanting to get up.

The drive is quick, only 20 minutes.

The calves and steer all need to be haltered for grain and supplements.  We halter them so they are used to being tied at fair.

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All lined up in the barn

They don’t mind being haltered.  They usually just lay down and sleep.   They stay tied for about 45 minutes.

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Amandas steer just isn't filling out like we wanted despite our efforts so he gets extra corn.

The hogs need cleaned and fed.

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These girls can get quite messy overnight, jeter they are getting brushed.

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See the wagon at the gate? The dreaded manure wagon that gets emptied twice a day in the hay field behind the house.

Of course the dog wants fed.

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Zoey at the campground

And the cat wants attention.

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Naughty Fluffy scratching the barn

The garden needs watered and zucchini harvested.

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Mike in the garden in June

Finally, untie the steer and drive back to the park.  But at least there is a  river and a pool awaiting  hard working kids.

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Canning Applesauce

This was a July ritual growing up.  We had a sour green apple tree (possibly Transparent Apples?) in the yard and would can quart after quart until the smell permeated every part of the house.

At my local orchard this week they had a sad looking bag of transparent apples that had hail damage, only $3 for the peck.

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Home canned applesauce is the easiest home canning.

Simple, just quarter the apples, toss the worst spots of damage. 

I am forgiving when it comes to sauce apples.  They are tender and bruise so easily I only toss spots that are horrible.

No need at all to peel.  Leave the seeds and stems.  Really- just chunk them up and throw in a pan!

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They looked really good for hail damaged!

They brown very quickly in the air.

Simmer in large stock pot with just enough water do they dont stick, a few inches.

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Simmer until soft.

Then, carefully, as they are very hot, run cup fulls through a food mill. 

You can find a food mill at any large superstore like walmart or at a local hardware store ( I am trying to shop locally) for less then $20.  and it will last forever. I bought mine in 1993.

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Mike processing apples

Like magic all the apple sauce will go into the bottom bowl while all the stems/seeds/leaves will stay in the food mill.

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All the leftovers

I return all the sauce to the pan and sweeten to taste.

Just look the other way when you realize how much sugar it takes.  At least it isn’t high fructose corn syrup.  I used 3 cups of sugar.

I also add cinnamon to taste.  About 1.5 tablespoons.

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Sweetened and ready to can.

I water bath canned then for 25 minutes.

This one peck bag made 6 quarts and 1 pint.

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Canned and ready for the pantry

Always feels good to have a jump on the canning!  I will be back for more apples this weekend.

Pot of gold

Just having a grateful day.  I live in a beautiful place with 3 (normally) great kids, a sweet husband, a good job, a great extended family.

And today, finally, a bit of rain.

Life is good

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Rainbow over the back yard this evening