In the FarmHouse

Jackpot!! The Magic FarmHouse’s Secret Doorway…

Last week I wrote a post involving several subjects.  One of which included the recent demolition of one of the downstairs rooms.  It had previously been used as a storage room & will now serve as Willis & Pickle’s new bedroom.

When I wrote the post we had gutted all of the exterior walls but not the two interior ones.  I had been pretty disappointed because one of my favorite things about opening the walls of the Magic FarmHouse is finding items of interest.  For example, when we gutted the boys’ current room located in the upstairs, we found newspapers from the 1950’s which lined the floor for insulation.  The most remarkable was an article about the first round baler.  At the time, the invention of this new implement was all the rage.  A huge step away from the typical, small family farm.

Another item we found in the wall was a piece of an old plat or description of where the property is located in our county.  Then we also found an original Play-school horse.  My personal favorite are the logs which hold up our kitchen roof, which is what we believe was the original one room cabin.  Someday I plan to do some serious research on ‘This Ol’ Place.”

So after days of disappointment in finding only old gross insulation & open holes from the wall to the outside siding we finally hit the jackpot.  My hubby pulled off the paneling on the main interior wall & there is was…..an old doorway which used to led into our current family room.  It makes me wonder if that room had at one time been a dining room.  There is a dining room on the back half of the house.  However, it’s my understanding that it was  put on as an addition to the rest of the house.

We considered opening it back up and closing the current door but we really don’t have the time for that additional work so it will be again covered up.  Love, love, love the history in this Magic FarmHouse!!!

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A Gone-Fish tournament, an addition with a lesson learned, a blind, demolition and finally, a serial biter…

I normally stick to one topic per post.  Today, I have a few topics to cover.  Feel free to jump in at anytime.  I’m starting to get a complex about my low or even non-existent readership.  :0)  Is anyone out there??

Gone-Fish: Willis & I attended an annual youth fishing tournament on Sat.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for largest fish caught.  He has always been a patient and dedicated fisherboy.  For example, the Sunday before we had Pickle & Willis’ ‘friend’ birthday party at the same pond.  Some of the kids choose to fish.  He was constantly whispering “SHSHSHSH, the fish won’t bite because you are all too loud.”  Not bad for a 4-year-old huh?  They never did catch anything.  My hubby saw this as a precursor for the tournament & decided to stay at home to build a mobile deer blind.  *Stay tuned for an update on the blind.* We probably should have followed his advice because we came home empty-handed as far as fish is concerned.  Our Fire Department sponsors the event and every kids leaves with some type of gift.  Even though there weren’t any fish, it was some good bonding time for myself & Mr. Willis who suffers from a severe case of Middlechild Syndrome.

The tournament took place at the this pond.

An Addition: A week & a half ago we found ourselves unable to keep up with egg demand.  Without a product, you can’t make the sale.  So a decision was made to purchase 5 new chickens which should begin laying in 2-4 wks.  This brought our hen total up to 20…For two days.

One of our New Hampshires...a.k.a. Orington?

A day after the chickens arrived I went down early for evening chores. I wanted to see how everyone was adjusting.  My main concern was how the pecking order was coming along…especially since the chickens arrived de-pecked.  Once I finally opened the door to the ‘coop’ side of the shed I saw one of the New Hampshires (who I’m beginning to think are really Opingtons but that’s another story) hanging upside down from the roost.  With our goal of re-using & becoming innovative with what we already have, we’ve always used a piece of fencing for the roast.  My first thought was that she was dead.  I ran to her rescue to find her leg weaved in between the metal wires.  Once I had her up she wasn’t able to stand.  I took her up to the house & got her some water.  Long story short….I didn’t check her over well enough & overlooked several large scratches around her bottom area.  She stayed in the garage for the night & then I moved her outside.  Eventually she was limping around & looking great.  By the afternoon I noticed the flies & gnats which wouldn’t leave her alone.  That’s when I checked her over completely.  I found maggots in the lesions.  Several times I attempted to clean all of them out, sanitize her & cover her with triple antibiotic.  To no avail, I was unable to save her.  Not having a sick or injured chicken before I did the best I could.  I’ve assisted in a prolapse surgery on a cow before, I’ve castrated piglets…but when it comes to chickens I’m pretty green.  For two days we had 20 chickens and now we are down to 19.  Lesson learned…we are re-building the roost.

The blind: My genius hubby is always thinking & creating.  His newest creative idea is to build a mobile deer blind that can be pulled with the 4 wheeler out to the middle of one of our hunting fields.  I can only post one picture…otherwise I’d have to hunt you down & make sure you don’t try & replicate his TM idea.  Just kidding…maybe.

Invention no. 1,230,890...in progress!

The Demolition: It’s been a while since we made any major changes to the Magic FarmHouse.  That changed yesterday.  One of the best advantages to my hubby’s job is ‘dumpster diving.’  Well, not really.  He works on commercial projects which in my opinion are many times unnecessary renovations – but I’m thankful they are renovating to get him busy working!  Last week the job site where he was working was trashing some perfectly nice cabinets and plywood.  He took all of it before they could hit the dumpster.  The cabinets have been a lifesaver in our new smaller storage room/office.  And, the plywood has allowed us to begin gutting & refinishing our downstairs  bedroom (old storage room/office)…

The beginning of our newest demolition!!

My VERY favorite part about gutting a room is finding the magical treasures.  So far, there’s one wall left and we haven’t found anything!  Bummer!

The Seriel Biter:  Finally, my precious little boy who was calm & who loves to cuddle is missing.  Instead I have a little maniac who’s running around trying to bite everyone!  Where did I go wrong??  He is seriously chasing Willis around the rooms with his mouth open wide trying to bite.  This is the first time we’ve encountered this problem…any suggestions??  Oh, wait, I forgot, no one reads my blog!

‘Til tomorrow!    :o)


Thank you Crayola and Mystery Blog!!

In the beginning of August I entered into a contest for Crayola’s new crayons made with solar power & most importantly their markers made with recycled plastic.  I won!!  Here’s the kicker…The markers and crayons came directly from Crayola so I didn’t receive any additional information as to the blog name and I can’t remember whose blog it was on!  So thank you to whoever sponsored this give-a-away.

I’m impressed with Crayola’s participation in the environmental movement they have coined “Crayola Eco-Evolution (TM).”  I’m very pleased they are using solar power but I’m thrilled that they are using recycled plastic in their markers.  Why?  One of our neighbors (abt. 1/2 mi. away) is a friendly landfill.  I’m sure people think I’m crazy but I try to recycle EVERYTHING!  Of course, I have my days when I need to get the kitchen cleaned in a jiffy and I’m a little lazy.  When you live next to your garbage’s final resting place, your eyes open up a bit about this sort of thing.   I was recently talking to my hubby’s cousin who lives in a suburb of Chicago, IL.  I was pleasantly surprised that they just put all of their recyclable materials into a tub and then the city sorts it and takes it to companies who then melt the materials down and re-use them in new products.  Living in a rural area we aren’t privy to such luxuries.  So here are a couple of ways I ‘keep it clean’ and reduce what I put next door….

  • *Try* to take my reuseable bags when grocery shopping.
  • When I do forget my reuseable bags I gather up my plastic bags & take them to Walmart where they offer a recycling bin.
  • Clean & take the following items to our town’s recycling bin: yogurt cups, grape containers, plastic drink containers, aluminum cans.
  • Clean & place misc. plastic bags from produce, bread, bagels, etc…into my plastic bag collection.
  • Fold all cardboard boxes to be burned or put into compost (always clipping my BoxTops for school)
  • Collect glass & give it to my mom…our town doesn’t offer glass pick-up.  Actually I think the nearest place is at least 15 mi away.
  • Give the kitchen scraps like the yucky grapes, vines, banana peals, cantaloupe and watermelon rinds, strawberry leaves, egg shells, etc…to the chickens to eat…LOVE THEM!

Let me know if you have any other suggestions or ways I can improve upon my Magical Eco Campaign! :0)

Until next time my friends….


Wow! Stop the lawn mower! REALLY!

Who knew we were all sitting on herbal goldmines!?!  I sat down to read my newest copy of ‘Turkey Country’ the NWTF’s (National Wild Turkey Federation) member magazine and came across an article that blew my socks off.  It talked about a plant that many pay big dollars to eradicate from their lawns.  Being frugal and cheap we at The MagicFarmHouse just mow them over and pray they never return.  Until now.

I gasped as I read all of the common ailments it may cure or relieve…

  • Reduces hypertension
  • Cures anemia (I’m chronically anemic)
  • Improves night vision
  • Acts as a mild diuretic
  • Improves liver and gallbladder function
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Mitigate mild constipation and other digestive issues (as a Crohn’s/Ulcerative colitis and IBS sufferer my colon was kicking me in the butt)
  • Clears skin problems including acne, eczema, warts, fungal infections and psoriasis
  • Eases arthritis
  • Stabilizes mood (I could use that all the time!)

What is this plant?  DANDELIONS! I know I still can’t believe it.  The author Lisa Densmore explains in the article that “It turns out the weed I tried in vain to eradicate is a nutritious herb, valued in Europe and the sub-Indian continent for myriad medicinal uses.”  Who knew?  Here’s one of the recipes they included with the article.  Unfortunately, since all of our dandelions are gone now (they usually dominate during the early spring), I haven’t had an opportunity to make any of their recipes.  I can’t wait to try them though!

Dandelion Blossom Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup dandelion petals
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (we will exclude this since we have a son with nut allergies)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened coconut (same as with the pecans)

Happy dandelion hunting!


A Magical Breakfast Dish

This is a recipe I tried from The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site.  It’s called Baked French Toast and is listed under the Breakfast section.   Between you and me, it’s really a dessert posing as breakfast… so heavenly and magically, I’m almost certain it’s a sin to eat this for breakfast.

I’ve made this dish two times; each a bit differently.  The first time I made ‘sides’ – an apple side, a blueberry side and a plain side and used a loaf of french bread as called for in the recipe.  The second time was yesterday morning and it was on a whim so I used hamburger buns rather than the french bread.  Since I was in a hurry I skipped on the fruit.  Although it was still delectable I missed the fruit.  In both cases I altered the recipe to make it a bit more healthy (see below).  Even so, oh my gosh!  Yummy, yummy!

Baked French Toast

Ingredients:

Part 1: The Meat of the Recipe

  • 1 Loaf Crusty Sourdough or French bread
  • 8 Whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk (I used 2% to cut down on the calories)
  • 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream (both times I skipped this entirely and added a bit more milk instead)
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Vanilla

Part 2: The Topping

  • 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cups Firmly packed brown sugar (I didn’t pack my cup all the way full)
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) Cold butter, cut in pieces (I could not bring myself to use that much and only used 1/2 to 3/4 of a stick)

What to do…

Grease 9X13 inch baking pan with butter.  Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.  Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Pour evenly over bread.  Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Add nutmeg if desired. **  Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles.  Store in a Ziploc in the fridge – I saved a bag and used a covered bowl.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat over to 350 degrees.  Remove casserole from refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top.  (If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake 45 min. for a softer, more bread pudding texture.  Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, crunchier texture.

Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.  (I didn’t bring out the butter and syrup…just to save on calories)

Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee on your front porch on a Sunday morning!