Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday Passage

Thanks to all who took the time to say a little something about Lyfa. I sure miss the ol' gal but am glad she is no longer in pain.

On with todays post:

Ecclesiastes 3:20-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man ascends upward and the spirit of the animal descends downward to the earth?

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Saying Goodbye

Here on the farm there are those times that I abhor!! Today is one of those times.
My mare, Lyfa went to the other side today. Breaking my heart to write this post, even so, you can imagine what a mess I was out in the field saying my goodbyes to her.

I think she knows her last day is here. That is why I came back to the house while he digs a hole for her. Gosh it is sooooo hard to say goodbye to my friend. She has been there for me through a lot of crud in my life.
I was given her, back in 2000 after training with her for about a year. She was green broke when they bought her and asked me to train her. She and I bonded from the get-go! She learned to trust me and would do anything for me. When I was having a bad day she would lay her head on my shoulder while I cried....She was an awesome companion for a lot of years! She traveled with me everywhere! I loaded her up in the trailer and away we went to wherever the wind would blow us!
She was born 5/6/1992. She lived with her grandma, dad, mom and aunt up until I moved her off the property in 2000 after she was given to me, papers and all.
26 yrs old she is now....and she is feeling the age. She has pretty much slowed way down on her eating/drinking. Just enough to keep herself sustained. I know she is in pain from her injuries in her past. Her knee has built up calcium deposit and it makes for difficulty trying to get down or up. Not sure she is doing that at all which means no real rest off her hooves. Mountain Man cannot keep her hooves trimmed up because she cannot stand long enough to get them trimmed. Folks she is old! Arthur has caught up with her and she is in pain a lot!

In 2008, she was attacked by what we figured was mountain lions, momma and her cubs. I think she was protecting another pasture buddy who could not defend himself. Long story short, she went through 5-6 mos of suffering and 5 vets to get her stable enough to live out the last 10 yrs. I almost lost her then! She pleaded with me to save her and so I did!
The two of us have been through a lot together like I said! She came to me at a time that I needed to focus on something else besides my miserable self at the time. I missed my kids terribly at that time and she helped me to focus on living not dying to put it plainly!
I will miss the ol' gal deeply and I wish her well.....lots of tears being shed on her behalf.....

Royal Charmalyfa Aug 16 2018 dear ol' Lyfa girl!

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Potatoes in the Garden

Well, this year has not been the best year we have had in regards to our garden. Between our busy schedule with my book release, Mountain Man's change of employment, weather patterns and many more factors, our garden has suffered for sure!
The garden got over run with weeds this year. But regardless of all the weeds we did manage to get some goodies out of the garden.
Potatoes we picked today....not sure if you recall but we did the ^^^ mulch/hay method (lay potato starts on top of the ground and cover with till) for the most part they were laying on top of the dirt just under the surface of the mulch/hay. Got one heaping (5 gallon) bucket this year versus in ground growth last year of two buckets.

Additionally we picked cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, green beans(what rabbits didn't eat) and acorn squash.

It has turned off hot again but the fall season is showing in the trees. So onward we go!

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Monday, August 13, 2018

EBOOK Available

Oh, I am so excited! Those who have been waiting patiently for the E-Book version of my book will be glad to know that it is now available.


Barnes &Noble-

More options will be available soon! Keep ya updated!

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Passage

I thank my God in every remembrance of you, always offering every prayer of mine with joy [and with specific requests] for all of you, [thanking God] for your participation and partnership [both your comforting fellowship and gracious contributions] in [advancing] the good news [regarding salvation] from the first day [you heard it] until now. I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. 
Philippians 1:3-6

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Canning Whole Tomatoes Tutorial

I looked back through my posts and realized I have not done a tutorial on canning tomatoes. Lots of records but no teaching posts. Well, that is about to change!!
I pressure can all my tomatoes except salsa. Water bath canning is done but I choose to pressure can as the time is shorter than water bath.
Ok let's get this party started!

Review the process in your book (if you do not have one please get one Blue Book guide to preserving-Other known as my canning bible). Also, go to your nearest County Extension Office for more helpful info on your area canning guidelines. Fantastic source of info!!

Next prepare your jars (wash), lids (rinse), rings(wash) (all of these can be washed in dishwasher too).

Take a clean pot add your lids and rings that you will need for your first canner full (7-8sets). Then turn on your burner on not boil your lids... today's lids cannot withstand the boiled hot water. Just bring to a simmer then shut off.

Rinse your canner or wash with light soap. Rinse really good if you use soap so you have no transfer into your food. Use as hot as water as you can stand to rinse with. I let my lids sit in hot hot water while water is running. Gets that rubber seal loosened up and expand.
Now before you return to your burner be sure to ADD WATER to your canner. About an inch in the bottom should be enough. Now one trick that I learned years ago is, add about a splash of white vinegar into your pot for hard water areas. It helps! No stains on your jars from the hard water!
Get a helper if you can! Thank you, Mountain Man!

Get your tomatoes rinsed because you are getting ready for the next step. Got it done? ok, now core your tomatoes (raw) and then stuff them in the jars.
Using your magnetic lid getter/bubble getter like a knife(canning section of your local store/online)...jab it in the sides of your jars to get the juice flowing and get the bubbles out. It is amazing how much juice the tomatoes will make on their own. No water added!!!
See the difference...the one on the left has been worked over. The one on the right has air bubbles still.

In my canners, 7 jars will fit. Once you have those filled and no air bubbles, now you need to wipe your rims with a clean cloth/paper towel so it is squeeky clean.
Place your hot lid and screw top on until it is hand tight. Place in your canner (make sure you have water in the bottom of canner about an inch). Once your canner is full, turn on your burner until it comes to a boil.
Once it hits a boil, set your lid on top (balance it on there do not seal...set kind of cockeyed..purpose is to get that seal and lid hot hot from the steam and you are getting your jars and lids hot hot and raw tomatoes warmed up too). Once it is at a boil, let that all sit there for about 5 mins. Steaming!
5 mins is up now place your lid on proper....meaning the lid should slide on like a screw top.

Make sure it is sealed all the way. If you have done all this correct you will see a bit (small bit) of steam coming out the steam stem.....if you have an older canner be sure it is open when you place the lid on...Yes, you want the steam to escape. Now here is the IMPORTANT PART....Do not let your attention go to anything else BUT YOUR CANNER at this point. For the next 30-45 mins your attention is on that canner, not your phone, internet, fb or anything else. DO NOT FORGET TO WATCH YOUR CANNER!! This canner can get dangerous from this point on.....Your canner is under pressure, IT CAN BLOW! I am not doing this to scare you, just be smart and pay attention!! I do not want somebody to get hurt on my watch!! ;)
pressure stem on the side

pressure stem in the middle(itty bitty)

Ok, once it starts steaming, on most canners their is a pressure stem (some are bigger than others like the top picture) but this stem will rise and stay under pressure which will make that steam go hard. Blows harder than it has can hear it.
Once this happens, set your timer to 10 mins!

Now either close your steam ports or place your weighted piece on the steam port.....Now you should start seeing your pressure gauge climb. Refer to your book or extension office info to see where your gauge should be. Mine here where I live according to our elevation and my canners is 11.

Once it gets to the pound mark on your dial, set your timer to 25 mins.
Keep your eye on that gauge...if it goes higher than your designated number (mine is 11) then turn down the heat...this is how you will regulate the a little at a time. If mine hits 15 the steam starts to escape...I turn the heat down a bit but keep close eye on that gauge to keep it regulated. If it finds a spot that it stays like my one canner likes 13, I leave it to cook there. Each and every canner is different. This is how you get to know your canner...WATCH this process for the full 25 mins. Then turn off the heat!! DO NOT TRY TO OPEN CANNER AT ALL!!! YOU WILL KILL YOURSELF!!!
Sorry but very important......Let your canner cool off completely. Which means watch the gauge descend until it hits zero, the pressure stem falls/drops THEN AND ONLY THEN take off the weighted piece or unscrew the steam piece....CAREFULLY unscrew your lid (steam will escape and can burn careful to tip your lid when you unscrew it and lift....) and place out of the way.
You may see something like this when you get the lid off. No worries!
Carefully lift jars out using your canning jar lifter.

The jar on the left is sealed while the right is not yet!
Now wait for the jars to cool. You will hear the "plunk" of the lids as they seal. Oh, that is the music we canners love to hear! Wahoo!! You are a success!
Once they have all cooled...I let mine sit for 8-12 hrs. Even those you think are not going to seal...wait it out! I had three left last night then this morning they were sealed!
Now I had juice left in my canners
I will clean those out but my suggestion to you is to remove your screw tops/rings from your jars and clean them off. The whole jar needs a good cleaning then mark the date on top and place in their new home!
Now go celebrate! You have just prepared fresh food for your family! You know where those tomatoes came from and there is no extra crud in your food! Happy Canning!!

Ps. my 75 lbs of fresh tomatoes turned into 38 quarts of tomato goodness! A helper is always welcome!! Thank you, Mountain Man!!

Please feel free to ask questions...all are welcome!!

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Monday, August 6, 2018

More Tomatoes.....

Holy Mackerel!
75 lbs of tomatoes to work up for canning. Oh my goodness what did I do?!
No worries...Jars are waiting in line to get their fill! Wahoo!

Next few days are going to be busyyyy!

I feel like bubba gump with his shrimp.....spaghetti sauce, salsa, whole tomatoes, tomato juice (as she keeps rattling on with the list of tomato goods)........

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sunday Passage

Ephesians 6:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Car Cleaning and Critters

Did I mention I hate car cleaning? I would rather pay somebody to clean our car than do it myself!! What makes it even worse is cleaning it on a hot Saturday.....Oh my lord! Crazy lady here cleaning the car! But now it smells tons better. We are not the best car caretakers. We clean our vehicles maybe twice a year. Oh I know, this will hurt some folks but they are a tool for us. We use them like farm rigs! They haul hay, grain, tools, us and once in awhile an animal or two!

Most of the time, we clean the trash out because it can pile up and I hate that more!
Today was the day to clean the FJ out! It was downright filthy! It is much better now but had to do it in shifts because of the heat (90's)! I hate that too because it draws the CHORE out!
I did not however, give the outside a bath. I will run it through the car wash next time I am in town! God Bless the person who came up with that idea!

I had a lot on my plate today, really! I got up and called the feedstore asking about hay. I admit I am nervous about this years hay crop. It is slim pickin's in these parts as I am sure it is around this nation. With all the drought conditions and fires and such...hay will be in high demand. We are trying to get our  "paws" on whatever we can at this point. Looking at trying to get ourselves about 60 round bales to cover our stock this year. Granted the cows are not here but better not to be short.
We have seen some changes here that are signs of FALL! Yes, I said it..August brought in fall feelings.
 Holy mother of Moses! So, I have asked the feed store for 18-27 bales..."spoke for that many"(means if I ask for that...they assume I will pay for it upon delivery) plus we "spoke for" 40 bales from another guy over my inlaws way. We are thinking winter is fast approaching and who knows what that means. 1800's type of winter here in Missouri. God I hope not!! Or is it going to be a long one?
We are already feeding hay as the grass is drying up. The grass pastures were so are dry,dry, dry!  Hard to fathom in the land of plenty, right? The grass is crunchy and I am watering the garden which is drying up too! Crazy Crazy weather!
Back to my day, hooked up the trailer(mower trailer just right for the FJ) and headed for the feed store (20 min drive). Grabbed couple bags of oats, corn and scratch for the hens. Came home and unloaded. Mountain Man is not here to help me as he was staying over at his folks for the last couple days working on FIL's cabin. So I scooted the geldings into the upper paddocks and locked the gate. Then I was able to pull in to unload into their pen. I fetched the tractor which did not have the hay hook on it but the bucket would work just fine. Just have to work it a little differently to unload hay. I pushed the hay round off the trailer then it tipped onto it's round side which was perfect!!

I then moved the hay rack (not light little thing) to go around the bale so the horses do not crush or wallow the bale down and waste hay! Removed the will get a laugh out of this tale...I try to have a knife on me so when I have to cut strings it is easy peasy...well the only thing I had available without hiking back to my car or the house was the machete that Mountain Man had on the tractor. Ha Ha Ha! Yes, I used it to cut strings...worked fabulous! Can you imagine? Ha Ha Ha
Then I hollered for the boys to come down....nothing....hollered again....nothing! So, I walked up to where they were in the pasture and they followed me single file down to the gate....silly boys! Gotta have that "mare" tell them what to do! Shut them in their pen to let the pasture rest for awhile or at least until we have some rain or something.
Off I went to unload the FJ! Pulled up to the hen hut to unload the square bales(had given the sheep their hay already). Now where to put them in the I went to reorganizing the chaos. I found a spot which will work for now. Future hay storage is a must for sure!! hmmmmm
Then I had six bags of grain to unload. Filled up the blue barrels with their grain. Fed the hungry chickens (they are growing so they act as if it is their last meal).

Clean the outer hen hut, filled up their water dish and shut the gate!

I am a tired people!

Enjoy what you have left of your weekend!

Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson All Photographs Copyright © 2018 M.E. Masterson

Sunday Passage

Thanks to all who took the time to say a little something about Lyfa. I sure miss the ol' gal but am glad she is no longer in pain. O...