Saturday, October 30, 2010

Newest Cast Iron Finds

Yesterday I found 2 pieces of cast iron at Good Will! This "makes my day" of course! I love checking out Good Will and the store has a "last chance" store next door that has everything marked down to VERY small amounts.

The small round 6" skillet looks to have been used well. It's not too often one sees CI that has been seasoned and cared for so well. It was as smooth as silk to run my fingers over it. I went ahead and paid the $4.99 for it because it's in remarkable condition. The odd spots in the pic aren't there visually. I had to go back and run my fingers over it again!

The griddle was $5.99, which is more than I usually pay at Good Will, but sometimes I get stuff marked so darn low that I don't mind the occassional "off" price for something. Cast iron is one of those occassional somethings as it's RARE to find it there.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a guy on the Today show for the cooking segment who had a brand new cast iron skillet. The theme for the cooking segment was cooking in cast iron. He had commented CI can be bought anywhere these days and cheaply. Then he said it needed seasoning before use and to rub the inside with oil and then heat it. I suspected that the guy learned his seasoning-the-inside-only method from the inter net without questioning what he reads as being the best or proper way. Maybe I'm wrong on my suspicion, but I had immediately got the idea he didn't know much about CI when I watched it. ;) One wouldn't have a well seasoned pan like this (my new find) that was only seasoned inside IMHO. No offense to him as we ALL are on a lifelong learning curve and hopefully we don't close our minds to it before the end! However my new piece clinches my questioning of his method on seasoning the inside only or both inside and outside. This pan I just got is as well seasoned outside as inside and has the same "sheen" outside as inside. So my 2 cents is season both as I have always done. There would have to be some difference in feel and look if only seasoned inside.

I'll need to season the small oval griddle, as it's not done. It looks like it's just sat in a cupboard for some years. I'll do it with another pan I recently found, as soon as I get the wood stove fired up for a good heating.

I also want to look up what the proper name for this oval griddle is from the CI manufacturers.
I think I have recently become a CI collector! I'm tired of teflon pans that loose their teflon so easily so we are eating flecks of it. I guess the big problem is that my cookware is getting tooooo old - just like me (aged with a few flaws)!

Do you like CI? Do you season yours inside and outside the piece or just on the inside?
(PS - The griddle is actually a fajitta pan and would have come with a wooden serving tray. No fear, I'll not tell it and will keep it busy. It now has a real job!)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them." --Mother Teresa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Woolly Bears

Yes, you read that right! Are you intrigued? I just read about woolly bears, woolly worms and forecasting Winter from the amount of black and orange. I also read they are called woolly worms in the South, so we all know it's the same "critter". Some might spell them wooly bears or wooly worms but I'm going to side with The Old Farmers' Almanac (The Truth About Woolly Bears), which is where I was reading.

I don't know if the predictions for winter is really true or not. There have been some studies done but it's more for fun to try to predict the weather from the amount of brown/black on them. I've noticed more black on the ones here lately. Rumor has it more black is a more harsh Winter.

If you'd like to read up on them some, there is a group which had formed due to a study of them with a website. You can check it out here: I found it by googling them, Woolly Bear Mountain.

For reference, I was reading from the 1998 Almanac as I got one CHEAP at GoodWill (25 cents). The current issues are EXPENSIVE these days so I no longer buy the new editions. I had to get this one as they always have a few good, old-time recipes I like to check out. They also contain the info on the length of daylight which I like to reference in the Winter. For some reason knowing that we'll acquire a minute and so-many seconds per day or so many minutes per week helps me get through the cabin fever months.

Back to trying to find that chart that is simple and easy to track that has the day of each month with sunrise, sunset and the amount of minutes more daylight is accrued by the day..... I can't remember where I had seen that.

Maybe I'd better just to visit the website. After all, there IS a website for EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chaos on the Farm

I am so not into the drama and all but some days it seems all I can do is pull my hair, roll my eyes, mutter and dive in! What could cause all that? It's simple.... so very very simple! The does are in heat, RAGING HEAT, and the boys are in rut, stinky, bickering and ready to serve the farm and does in "need"!

Oh, you better grab a cup of coffee, ice tea, pop or what ever and sit back to enjoy your visual observation!

It all started one morning.....

Buckley was being a baaaaad boy and he and Nipper no longer can stand the looks of each other, let alone that the other exists and ESPECIALLY here with the girls they each claim as "ALL MINE"!! Nipper is smaller so I left him in the buck pen (dog kennel) and Buckley is tied out. Buckley also had less of a problem being tied out.

Buckley is no dummy! That rascal figured out how to untie his rope! He's also STRONG and broke a couple collars. Well, he untied himself and went to the barn to say hubba hubba to the does of course. Then he turned his attention to Nipper and the boys and decided they needed out of the kennel and he'd convince them that he's "the man" and they aren't welcome around his "women". That bugger busted up a kennel panel so fast it was jaw dropping. He also had to tangle his horns into the chain link so he was stuck and had nothing better to do than ram it and try to get released. Released is what happened to the boys in the kennel and all the chickens too. :(

Tip of the day:
IF you use dog kennel panels with your goats, don't expect those wire clips they use to hold the chain link to the frame! They are soft wire and they'll pop right off as clean as a whistle on the first good head butting. Reinforce them before they get rammed.

I really was smart about putting that pen together. I made sure the cross pieces were inside the pen to support the chain link against the frame for any rubbin on, etc. I have a couple fence posts outside to help with support. I didn't account for a loose buck on the outside ramming into it, not to mention a loose buck who was ramming into Buckley wanting a good fight over the ladies!

You know, you can't confine the loose critters (6 bucks from the pen and 20 or so pullets with a couple roos) until you get the culprit untangled, retied where he belongs, and the fence fixed. (I should have been milking, a nice quiet job that gives me time to "relax" and ponder my goat plans.) So it didn't help with all the loose critters, that someone went and managed to open the gate leading to the barn aisle where there were about 7 or 8 does with some in heat! Just so you can enjoy the whole visual, ALL the boys found their voice! So Buckley is back to his tie out area hollering, and the other boys are chasing the girls doing their hubba hubba and trying to mount any girl they can catch up with. Meanwhile, Nipper is trying to tend the girls in heat and he knew exactly which those were. The other boys, being 2010 boys are still needing to inspect and hope they are "lucky". So the boys are yelling or whispering goatie mating talk and the adult does in the barn are now screaming "LET US OUT with the boys"! We WANT them!

I got the doelings rounded up and back in the barn, made sure I didn't have any boys rounded up in the fray as they were determined to be the "man of her dreams" and tied a couple boys. PHEW! They all wanted to run from me so they could continue with their own agenda. No one was coming for my calling and clapping which usually brings some of them running to the barn. WOW! CHAOTIC!

I eventually got things under control, repaired, and chores done. Boy was I tired! The boys weren't interested in dinner either. They were chasing each other around the pen yapping. There were pauses for some head butting and power strugles of who could push the other off his pose by their heads.

Then yesterday I was doing chores and all of a sudden I realize the commotion in the pen while I was pounding in a couple more fence posts to better secure it wasn't Nipper keeing the boys away from me being he's top buck. WHIZZING BETWEEN my legs goes a black goat.....Yes, there are 2 black boys in that pen, Nipper and Justin. Again a black goat whizzes between my legs (hay, I'm pounding a fence post into rocky land and have my legs a bit separated bracing myself).... and a 2nd whizzes by my legs, followed by Nipper who is yelling at them! Low and behold, JOLENE is in the buck pen and, yes, she is in heat!!! I had just seen Burglar humping "Justin". HA that must have been Jolene, not Justin. So I hurry and grab Jolene who wants caught but is being chased by all the boys.... Out of the pen she goes. I had let the 6-8 from the barn aisle out into the yard while I was working on the fence. I stand back up and start to go back into the buck pen and notice a couple "brown" goats "going at it" and ACKKKKKK.... That wasn't Buttons and Cinnamon sparing! Bandit was out of the buck pen and he LOVES Buttons and the feeling is mutual. I highly suspect the deed was done! DARN... she's not very big (mini Alpine) and he's a full-fledged Alpine. I'm not one to want to breed a larger buck to a smaller doe or any other species. I prefer the buck be the same size or smaller and the expected kids to be small enough in the head to kid out easily for the doe and kid. Now I have to take care of this!

My next problem is I don't know how Bandit got out of the buck pen. There is an old commercial dishwasher out by the barn in the buck pen (great for the hens to lay in) and Bandit has been getting up on top of that (a good 5'+ high). He has busted the fiberglass "window" panel on the barn which goes into the asile of the barn. I had put some woven wire up there but it's now mashed down! Did that boy get into the barn and when I let the goats in the aisle out he was with them? It's possible!

If so, a couple in that aisle are in heat and it includes his "love", Buttons! Do I have a couple doelings serviced? Remember the theme of this post, CHAOS? Ohhh boy!

I'm almost afraid to face today's chaos! Why did I think I'd wait til next weekend to start matching up the breeding groups? Maybe because I'm also trying to get a new shelter in the buck pen for winter first and because I don't want kids born during the worst weather being our winters are severe. Of course I didn't want to breed any who would be first fresheners until December and then I wanted to spread them out a week or 2 apart.

What's that line about the "best laid plans"?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chicken In The Road - Cheese Making

I belong to a forum called Chickens In The Road. I love the group, it's grown considerably and gotten better and better. Suzanne McMinn owns and runs it. She's an author and it shows in her wonderful writing and blog posts. I'm sure you'd like it also.

Suzanne McMinn announced today that New England Cheesemaking Supply Company had spoken with her and she will now be doing more on cheese making in conjunction with them. Suzanne will be making a type of cheese each month. (She started with a couple dairy goats and now has a Jersey cow also.) There will also be give-aways of NECSC products! You can join both at these links and then you'll have 2 more EXCELLENT and RELIABLE resources. I highly recommend both!

Chickens In The Road

Sign up for NECSC's newsletter here but be sure to check the group out too!

I hope you'll check it out and find it as interesting and helpful as I have. Even if you aren't going to be making cheese, you'll still enjoy the group as there is a LOT there. Then come back and let me know what you thinkl!

Washing Clothes

This is an old article I've read in the past but saw it again and thought you might enjoy it if you've not seen it.

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: this is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch. Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence. Spread tea towels on grass. Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs.. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

I do enjoy that and surprisingly to some, it's really not all THAT long ago that a lot of laundry was done that way or close to it! I remember using a scrub board and scrubbing laundry as a kid! We did have big "laundry tubs" in the basement so were inside but still hung them outside. I still prefer to hang my clothes outside to this day. Winter gets rough though as the clothes freeze faster than one can hang them and it's even worse on the hands!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

National Face Your Fears Day

I've sat here thinking of what I'm fearful of and came to the realization that I only have what I'd term "normal" fears. My fears are of getting hurt falling, getting in an accident, etc. I stress over money, health and such but again, think that's "normal" too. I do have panic attacks at times but they aren't severe and I'm aware it's happening. I do have a bit of "fear" over my van breaking down with hubby with me due to his status post stroke and limited mobility. I'd consider that more common sense than actual fear though. Maybe I'm wrong too.

I don't have anything much to post on this topic but I've analyzed my fears for the day and now I have another year to not worry over facing them! I think I've got it in check!

How about you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stroke Indentification

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the individual to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (Coherently - i.e. It is sunny out today.)
R * Ask the individual to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

New Sign of a Stroke - - Stick out Your Tongue
Ask the individual to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.
If the individual has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A cardiologist supposedly said for every 10 people who get this info, you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I don't know how true that is, but it's important info to know so we might be able to save a relative from a horrible situation or death.

I hope you don't mind reading this info! I didn't know to do these things when hubby had his stroke a few years ago. I wish I had as we may have made it to the hospital in time for the diagnosis within the 3 hour window for best treatment results. He was in his early 50's at the time. I also had a co-worker who found when her son was born that he'd had a stroke inutero prior to 4 months gestation!

Strokes can and do happen at all ages, but are more common the older we get. So, knowing the signs is very important!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Something Fun

Have you ever done any online jigsaw puzzles? I love puzzles and do some occassionally. Today I had to do this one as it's bales of hay in a hay field.

You can find it here if you'd like to do it:


Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Bye September!

Where did it go? It just seemed to have flown thru and I couldn't "turn around" fast enough to keep up with it!

Hello October! I hope October can go a bit slower! I have tons to do outside preparing for Winter. We're ready to make our annual trip up North in a few days to bring home a Winter's supply of apples, squash, potatoes, onions, etc from 2 orchards we frequent.

I'll be surprised if we don't have a frost tomorrow night that will be followed by a Monday am heavy freeze. That will finish off the growing season! I have the rest of my ripe and almost ripe tomatoes picked. I need to pick the better green ones tomorrow and can the ripe ones. I HOPE that the tomatoes that managed to rot before picking will sprout lots of tomato plants in the Spring. They were really nice tomatoes and produced lots! Volunteer plants have done well for me in the past.

I have brussel sprouts that aren't as developed as I had hoped. I hope covering them will keep them safe.

Deer season started today for the bow hunters. I hope that several are taken from the herd that is around here. They cause a lot of damage and we have a very high number of car/deer accidents around here.

The trees are turning color fast and a lot of leaves are dropping. The ride North and back should be very pretty!

Another sign of the seasons changing.... I've drug out my "long johns" and sweat pants! Chalk it up to "a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do"!