Thursday, November 28, 2013

Brrr...Time for the Barriers...

Brrr...I think winter's least if cold and wind are any indication!

Over the weekend, we said goodbye to our mild fall, and began to batten down the hatches.  Jim cleaned out the outside pen and wooden pen one more time, and put up the plywood barriers between the outside pen and wooden pen.

The pen, which is on the cold west side of the barn, opens to the south and in the winter it acts like a channel for all the cold winds to blow right into the barn.  Water pipes can freeze...and it's a mess when that happens.

We usually wait as long as possible to put up the barriers, because the barn is better ventilated without them. When it's closed up too tightly, the heifers can pass around respiratory viruses (just like a room full of school kids!)   However...the cold weather won out this time...

The outside pen heifers can still get inside for shelter, but those barriers keep out the worst of the cold. There's also a door to the left that we pull shut to block off the entry way.  When it gets really cold, we drain the water line and fill water tubs several times a day for the outside pen heifers.  Luckily it's not nearly that cold yet!

It's just below freezing right now on this beautiful Thanksgiving day.  The sun is shining, and we'll be spending the next several days with family...eating way too much of course...but enjoying time together.  The gourmet potatoes are in the oven, and we're working up our appetites for a feast.

Wherever you are...and however cold...or are, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Linking to Alphabe-Thursday

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apple Snitz Pie...

A week or so ago, on a Saturday afternoon, we were just getting ready to head out to the barn for milking, when Jake came strolling across the yard.

Jake is one of our Amish neighbors...and he didn't come empty handed...

Before you didn't bring us a half eaten pie!  It just didn't take us long to devour eat it.

This is an Apple Snitz pie...usually just referred to as a Snitz pie around here. It's a pie that the Amish make often, and this one came our way because Jake's son was hosting Church at his house the next day.  When you host Church, you also provide lunch, and this is a staple at this meal.

I've never made one of these, but they're quite good.  The filling tastes kind of like apple butter.  Here's a recipe that I found...


2 cups dried apples (snitz)
1 1/2  cups warm water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Soak apples in water overnight.
Cook apples in the water they were soaked in.
When soft, mash the apples and add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves
Pour mixture into an unbaked pie shell.
Cover with second crust and seal edges, cutting several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 425 * for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat and bake at 370 * for 35 more minutes.

Makes one 9" pie

Have you ever tasted one of these?

I'm trying something new...and linking to Alphabe-Thursday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The End of a Season...

I've been thinking of ideas for blog posts lately...and tossed this idea around for a while.


It's not exactly farm blog material...except for the fact that it involves the farm kids!

Ever since mid August, our schedules have been (or at least had been until lately) pretty much dominated by the cross country season.

Eric has been running ever since 7th grade...

 ...and this year, Jenna joined the cross country team as well...

They both had great seasons!  They had a great coach, and made some good friends as well.  Both qualified to run in the League and District races.  Eric placed 20th in the League Championship meet, and was selected by the League's coaches to be a "Second Team All Star", which is an honor!

At the Cross Country Honors Banquet, there were also five seniors who received Scholar Athlete Awards. Coach is in the middle in this picture, and Eric on the far right...

Now that the season is over, life has relaxed a little for both kids, and for us too.  We enjoyed going to the meets when we could, but unfortunately, they were usually close to milking time.  We also have our evening barn helpers back, which is great!  (for us, but maybe not so much for them!)  :)

We're proud of them both!  What a great way to stay in shape and make good friends at the same time!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves...

It's a beautiful day today.  Breezy and cold...a little too cold for my liking, but after all, it is November!

The leaves this year have been just gorgeous!  They've been hanging on the trees longer than usual, and the colors have been brilliant. Today though, they've been falling...and piling up...faster than we can get them raked.

This Maple tree is right outside our kitchen door.  The leaves were so thick this morning that I could hardly rake them...

I had some company.  Can you see who's hiding in this picture?

...and this one...

Banja and James loved burying themselves in the pile and then jumping out again...

Jim pulled up the manure spreader, and we filled it to the brim.  Then he climbed in and stomped down the leaves so we could pile it even higher...

After a while we switched places, and I stomped on the leaves as he raked. It's the only time of year that I take a ride in the manure spreader!  :)

The leaves will be spread out on the fields.  I wish I could chop them all, and spread them on my garden, but there are way too many...and they'd mostly blow away.  Bummer, because leaves make wonderful compost!

The cats couldn't stay away.  Of course, tractors and PTO shafts are meant to be climbed on...didn't you know that?

Here's that same tree, three hours or so later.  There are still a lot of leaves left for another day's raking, but so many fell already!

It's sad to see the leaves disappearing.  It's inevitable, I know...but it means that winter really...and just around the corner.  The boiler is already cooking away, and the cast iron radiators are throwing off the heat, trying to take the chill away.

What is fall like in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Beautiful Fall Morning...

This morning as we were finishing up milking, I saw a beautiful sight.

I happened to glance towards the east as I carried the last milker to the milk house, just in time to see the sun at the exact moment that it was peeking over the horizon.  The colors weren't especially brilliant reds or oranges...but the sun light that streamed across the fields was breath taking.

As usually happens, by the time you grab your camera, the magic is gone. And...the camera never quite captures the images quite as beautiful as they are in real life, but I tried anyway...

This picture looking to the west, of the Amish neighbors' barn peeking over the hill, is probably one of the most photographed shots that I've taken over the years, in all seasons.  You should see it at sunset!

I think the hydrangeas are especially beautiful this time of year, and the sun only made them prettier this morning... 

The golf course across the road always gives us a show of beautiful leaves as well...

The leaves are late here this year...and we're enjoying them as long as we can.  It makes the fall more enjoyable, and at least makes me imagine that winter is still a long way off!

Linking to Rurality Blog Hop today.