Daily lives of an ordinary family, getting on with life, raising kids, living on a farm in the beautiful State of West Virginia. Kids, family, pets, livestock and gardens are just a few of the things we like having in our lives. Self sufficiency is one of our biggest interests. Visit us sometimes and see what we might be getting into here... on Horse Fork Farm!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Old Fashioned Green Tomato Kraut

I can vividly remember in my early childhood, having not one but two Grandmothers who pickled foods in their kitchens. Was there anything in the world that tasted better than the ears of corn in those big crocks at Grandma McCunes house? Well, if there was, it was probably to be found at Grandma Withrows house in a big jar on the counter!

They both could be found in their kitchens in late Summer, chopping and slicing and brining the cabbages, beans, corn, and green tomatoes that remained in the late summer garden. Grandma Withrow always made a version of Chow Chow using the little green tomatoes, onions, cabbage and sometimes cauliflower or a green pepper. She was the only person I know of that didn't make it with sugar! Grandma McCune pickled green beans and corn together in her biggest crocks, layering the beans and corn covered at the top with a scalded plate and a large smooth rock to hold everything down. Her other churn was used for Green Tomato Kraut... Chopped cabbage with a mix of little stunted green tomato chunks. It may not "sound" lovely but believe me... it was all pure ambrosia!

As I grew up, my own Mother made pickled corn and beans in her kitchen, and after I was grown I continued the traditions in my own house for my own kids! This week, we took time to do a version of Green Tomato Kraut here at the farm. I rarely use the crocks for mine... it just seems simpler to make it in jars with lids and bands. If one jar happens to go bad, the mess is contained in one jar and the other jars aren't spoiled.

Like both Grandmothers, the Almanac is my best friend for all things food related! I plant and harvest, pickle foods and set chicken eggs, all by the signs of the moon!  Why? Well, I suppose I do it for the connection it brings to those two women who helped shape my opinions on things. Because it's a tradition from a simpler time. A time when everyone lived closer to the land and lived more earnest and useful lives than what so many live today. It pays its' respects to the Pennsylvania Dutch families on both sides of my "tree" who were frugal and honest, hard working yet simple. And it is yet one more way that I can teach my boys to be self sufficient in a world gone askew from the values of simple living a century ago.

goat babies 083

goat babies 083 by linger.kathy
goat babies 083, a photo by linger.kathy on Flickr.

TWO LITTLE LADIES WITH THEIR MOMMA. These girls were born June 27th.


So...  I have this pantry in my house that is approximately 8x10 ft. When Eric first made it I thought it was absolutely huge!
So in went the chest freezer, a cabinet, 2 HUGE rolling industrial shelving units and... AND... suddenly my lovely, spacious pantry was not as spacious as I thought! I rearranged. I organized. I CRAMMED... one day when I couldn't even find a cake mix I actually cried, lol. Well... what to do? Let me just say that when you need a visual idea to work with, Pinterest is your friend. The only problem there is that to find what you need you have to be able to describe it! I searched the words "pantry, shelving, space saving, food storage etc...". I got lots of great ideas, but none that were a match for what I needed. In the end, after much frustration, I literally stumbled across this solution on one of the Homesteading forums I frequent. So while I can't claim the design rights to this shelf, I can copy the heck out of it!!! lol   This is the first one we built a few weeks ago, Fully loaded it holds over 800 cans! WOWSERS! We are planning another one for odd sized cans such as Coffee etc... I must say that this shelf makes finding the right can so easy. I never have to stand on my head anymore to find something lost in the back of the very bottom shelf.... a very good thing indeed. I hope if you need that extra space in YOUR  pantry that you see this shelf and have your own "AHA"!!!! moment like I did. (Please excuse my typos' it's 1:30 AM)

Friday, June 1, 2012

"It's a rainy day... it's a rainy day...
Why do we need the rain... anyway...

Well, the boys are not happy that we have rain but I am! It's really nice to have a cool day to rest and it sure has been hot and dry here. Ethan has been mucking out the goat barn before we lime it and put down fresh bedding in preparation for Daisy having babies. YES! PLURAL!  I want TWIN DOES from this kidding and NO BUCKLINGS! Apparently I am wrong on my dates for her because today should be the day according to my calculations and she doesn't look ready to me at all. The signs are not there yet making me think she got bred later than I thought. Hmmmm.... where is my baby monitor at? Time to set it up in the barn so I can hear what she's doing at night. Gotta be there when she kids! So much left to do Aaaack!!!!  Need to order more copper bolus for them and I need Bo-Se from the vet. I really hate waiting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making A Summer Kitchen/ GIRLS SPACE...

So... here on the farm, there are several out buildings and sheds and places to get out of the weather and do some type of work. My hubby claimed the garage, part of the attic, and the old house for himself. The kids are building a fort, the goats have a barn, and the chickens have their very own out building too. Good thing for me I claimed the ancient, rundown cellar and cellar house for myself! And ooooh, do I have plans for that space!!! I know this picture doesn't look like much, but I look at it and see a nice cool, well laid out SUMMER KITCHEN. If you look past the one corner that has a leak in the roof, and maybe squint just a little bit, its really not so bad. There is lots of room for a kitchen stove, all my canning and dehydrator supplies, a kitchen sink, prep table and a window air conditioner. It would be (((Heavenly))) to go out there and do my canning without all that heat and steam ever being in the main house. I have a canning stove stored, I have an old 1940s sink in the garage, an extra air conditioner. I can even hang a porch swing from the rafters for a comfy seat while I wait for the canner to cool. Underneath this room, is the old original cellar that goes with the old house. Right now its full of years worth of old junk from other people who have lived here. But thats OK, because now its getting cold outside and that means any snakes will be stiff... or at least lethargic enough not to bite me as I empty it out. Its an understatement to say its a mess. It is sooo beyond a mess its just crazy. My husband did pull a few things out for me this Summer, he has absolutely no fear of snakes (CRAZY man). So far, a few old dishes, old pop bottles, mason jars and....sigh..... a bunch of old tires. I need to borrow my daughters metal detector and go over the dirt floor for treasure... lol. Ya just never know!

old cellar1

old cellar1 by linger.kathy
old cellar1, a photo by linger.kathy on Flickr.