Monday, June 12, 2017

Life With A Teen Boy??

First thing: this was posted with permission given from Ryder.
What happens when you have a
Teenaged boy and add in
A treadmill on high speed and
An 8lb weight

 Ryder truly thought that the weight would just roll down the treadmill.  Well, THAT didn't happen!  HaHa!  Everyone is safe and no harm was done except to the window.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Strawberries and Peaches

Our neighbors went to the lovely state of GA last week for their oldest granddaughter's high school graduation. They would be gone for a week and needed us to take care of their beef cattle and to feed the cats while they were away.  We are happy to help them out so they can travel see their children and grandchildren. 

   They always bring back a thoughtful thank you gift and this time they brought a gallon of strawberries and a peck of peaches.  They were so flavorful, fresh and brightly colored. 

   After eating some fresh; we decided that it was just going to be too much to eat before they would go bad so I made 9 pints of strawberry jam and froze several quarts of peaches.  The peaches will be a wonderful addition to a smoothie.

 Ryder eats toast with butter and jam every morning.  I have even had some on toast...yeah the "bad gluten kind" too!  I didn't get sick and it is so delicious!  Madi made some parfaits with vanilla yogurt, granola and fresh peaches!  They were delicious also.  Ryder ate two, maybe three, that evening.  There is just something about fresh fruit that is awesome!

   I had to put more pictures in here to show how bright  the colors are! I love it!

The jam is a brighter red color than these photos show. It is bright red like the strawberries but for some reason my camera didn't feel like making them red! 
    Not really a big deal though as the taste is what is more important than the picture. 

   I used the recipe in the Ball canning book.  It is a very simple, easy recipe.  I did choose to use the pectin recipe.  After having these strawberries Jeremiah decided that he wanted to plant some more strawberry plants.  Our plants died out several years back and we just never got around to planting more.  I ran to the local greenhouse and bought 14 plants.  Jeremiah was happy that they still had some and they were marked down to $.75 a plant!  They are rather large plants with blossoms and two of them have strawberries starting!

That's a wrap from the Pine Tree Forest!  I think I may need to eat something with jam this morning!  I need something with my tea! 
Have a blessed day, y'all!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Honey Spring 2017

   Our bees made it through the winter.  Happy Dance!!!  Our winter wasn't as harsh as it has been in past years so that was a help. However, my dad has done more research on beekeeping and decided that we needed to make bee candy and feed them through the winter.  I am guessing that it was a huge help as all the hives thrived this time. 

   Dad and Ryder went up to check on the hives two weeks ago and Dad decided that one hive in particular was just too full! Yep! Too full!  They filled a tote with frames and brought them down.  Madi and I scrapped them and then I started to filter the liquid gold! It is so sweet and a beautiful color.  We haven't ever had the opportunity to harvest honey in the spring so this was a real treat! 

   In the picture above you can see my little pint jar on the left.  I put honey in my tea every morning.  Actually, whenever I make hot tea I put honey and vanilla creamer in it.  I am addicted to it.  I am all about the honey and vanilla!  I have made my own vanilla creamer in the past but it is a bit more work than I really want to do right now.  I just use Coffee-Mate's Natural Bliss creamer.  It's made without GMO's.  It sounds so good that I think I need to tear myself away from the computer and make a cup of happiness!  Have a blessed day! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From My Front Porch

   I am a bit behind on posting pictures for this month. I have been busy harvesting honey, making jelly and freezing some fruit. I will post more on those thing later.  Even though I didn't have the time to post them, I did take them. These photos were taken on June 2 or June 3.

   We had a good rain storm earlier this month and it wreaked some havoc on the rhododendron bushes.  The blossoms didn't make it through the storm.

   Madi planted some flowers and decided that the front porch would be the best place for them.  They give the tomato plant some company!

   Our hanging baskets are looking great! They have really grown in size.  The colors are lovely!  I'm still really happy with them.  I give them at least a quart of water each everyday!

   Everything has turned green again!  I'm so excited to have this beautiful weather.  Its kinda crazy though as we have had to have the heat on a couple times because it gets a bit too cold at night!  It's June!!!

   This rhododendron didn't loose as many blossoms as the other one during the storm.  They are such happy colors!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?  There are two prominent colors in our home navy blue and brick red.  I am happy about that and they are some of my favorite colors.  I have no desire to remove them or cover them up! 

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again? Well... I am a bit ashamed to admit this but.... I will NEVER, EVER ask a lady when she is expecting!!!   When I was much younger, around 20ish, I asked my neighbor when her next little was due....she wasn't expecting!!!!  I felt horrible! Absolutely horrible!  They had 4 small children already and I figured they were going to continue having more!  She was very understanding but I felt like I had insulted her terribly! Lesson learned!

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.  I am not real sure how to answer this... I am a woman and I feel that I look like a girl, act like a girl and talk like a girl....  I wear makeup, like to polish my nails and keep my hair done.  I don't care much for snakes, mice or spiders....

Ways that I don't fit....  I am not a fan of cooking.  I do it but I don't love to cook or bake.  I would happily pawn that job off onto someone else.  Dressing up in fancy clothes isn't something that I enjoy.  I don't like high heels.

 4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?  I personally have never owned a motorcycle but Jeremiah does.  I have ridden a motorcycle many, many times.  I started to ride motorcycles when I was a small child.  My uncle would take me to town on his bike when I was about 7-8 years old.  Jeremiah and I started dating at age 16 and he had a motorcycle and we rode that occasionally.  I go riding with Jerm when the weather is nice. I am not a true fan of it though because I don't like getting my hair messed up.  :-)

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?   I have to say that there isn't an answer for this! If there was Jerm would have read it, watched it and listened to it!  HaHa

6.  Insert your own random thought here.  The weather has been cooler and sometimes dreary here in the pine tree forest.  The leaves have finally popped on most of the trees.  The flowers are coming out in full bloom.  I posted these pictures yesterday of the rhododendrons and some of the garden but thought that I would share it with Hodgepodger's also!  


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Mostly Picture Post!

I took the camera and went around the homestead and took some random pictures. The rhododendron is in full bloom.  I included some close pictures of the blooms.  I love how pretty they are!

We worked on the garden Saturday evening. We got most everything planted.  We use grass clippings for mulch to help with weed control. 

We will plant more seeds next weekend.  That will help with canning.  Everything won't be ready at once!

We decided to use the raised mounds again for the garden.  It was very successful last year.

This is the back side of the rhododendron bushes from the garden. 


From the driveway.

From the driveway.
Nathan painted a flowerpot and planted a pretty purple flower. He did a good job of matching the house!
Last year we had a hanging cucumber plant on the front porch.  This year I bought a grape tomato and Jeremiah planted it along with two onions. We will see how this goes!
This about sums up the homestead at the moment.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I was going to include more but thought it may be a bit of an overkill on the pictures!  I personally like picture posts! :-)

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cows Are Back!

   I finally remembered to take a camera with me when I checked on the cows!  I walk by them regularly but I never seem to have a camera on me.  I have some pictures of this year's cows.

 This is Mr. Bull. He wears a nice loud bell.  Many of the cows wear bells. It sounds so nice to hear them tinkle and ding! You can see the girls up in the field in the upper left hand corner of the picture.

The girls are on their way down the hill.  They seem to enjoy the interactions with us.  When they see one of us they head towards us. 
Close up of the girls.  I like to talk to them and tell them how pretty they look that day.  Mr. Bull is always told that he is quite handsome!  HeHe! 

More of the girls.  They have some unique markings on their heads.

They are already growing quite quickly. 

I really like this picture and the next one.  I was standing by a locust tree and the branches just made the picture pop a bit more.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

From My Front Porch

   I can hardly believe that May 1 has come and gone already!  I realized that I needed to do a Front Porch post so I quickly took some pictures this morning and I am finally getting around to writing.  I am babysitting a little one today (he's two) and he is taking a nap.  I decided that it would be best to have some quiet time myself until he falls into a deeper sleep.  I figured that this post would be the best thing to do, right?  :-)

   The lilac bush is in full bloom right now.  Madi and I are so excited.  I have bouquets all through the downstairs!  Jeremiah was mowing yesterday and he took the time to pick the first bouquet for me! That man is so sweet to me!  It warmed my heart thoroughly. I went out later in the afternoon and picked some more.  The house smells lovely.  These photos show the bouquet Jerm picked.

   The wind has been blowing rather hard today.  The temps dropped into the 50's again after some pretty good storms yesterday. I took these pictures just as the rain finished.  You can see that the leaves are finally starting to pop out on the trees. 

   Madi mentioned that the store had some hanging baskets for sale and there was one particular style that she really liked.  I stopped last week and picked up two of them. I like the red and white mix- she has good taste!  It matches the house so nicely.  I was also happy that they were priced at $10.  That is pretty reasonably priced for our area.  Most go for $15 or more a basket.  I will be checking them out and hitting some of the local greenhouses later.  I usually wait a bit to get flowers. 

   Things have been hopping here and I hope to post more updates later.  Have a great day!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Busy Week on the Hilltop!

   Oh, the weather outside has been delightful!  We have been enjoying the change to warmer temps.  We have done a lot- and I mean a lot- of running.  The car is getting a work out!  I love it.  It's been busy but we are together and we have a good time talking.  Ok, sometimes the kids majorly disagree on something but overall it's a good thing.  My kiddo's aren't really little anymore (15 and 16 years old) so discussions can sometimes get deep/interesting.  They both seem to have a sweet spot for the 1980's and early 1990's music...  Really??? Who seriously wants to go back? Haha! 

   We have had many pop-in visitors this week.  My dad, my uncle, my mom came with my little nephew C.  Mom and C spent the afternoon with us.  C is 14 months old and he is so much fun.  I love to listen as his little feet pitter patter across the floor. He makes sweet little sounds to communicate and a couple short words like "Mom, Dad, Baby, and Ball".  He loves to wave "Bye" and "Hi".  We also had some friends of Ryder's come and spend a day here too.  The boys were constantly on the go. 

   Ryder mowed our yard and started mowing at one of the jobs that he carried over from last year.  All the grass is growing and starting to green-up.  I enjoyed getting the first scent of freshly mowed grass.  When my uncle stopped in, he wanted to get a whiff of the fresh smell too!  After a long winter the smells of spring and the birds singing are welcome- except for those who have those spring time allergies.  I'm sorry for you.  Jeremiah has been dealing with those recently and it isn't any fun; it takes away from your enjoyment.

   Madi had a "hankering" for a sandwich from the little creamery we visited with our homeschool group this winter on Thursday. She had to be at work at 1 so it worked out great to go have lunch before her afternoon shift started. I got the same Grilled Chicken Salad that I got before and it was so much better.  They have really improved since they opened last year.  I guess they just had to work out the bumps.  It is real food and not packaged, processed food and the taste is so much better!  They had a couple new farms listed on their sign to let us know where they got their produce and meat. 

   We went to a dinner last night (Friday) to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. Jeremiah had work so he wasn't able to make it. We went to a new restaurant about an hours drive from home.  I wasn't impressed with it.  I ordered a Grilled Chicken and Ranch sandwich (minus the bun) and I was far from impressed.  The chicken breast was too grilled.  It seemed like I was actually eating charcoal sometimes.  It was also grisly and fatty.  I think that is the term I want. Madi said her food was ok, not good but ok. I think it was called a Chicken Cheesesteak. She also ordered some onion rings that were huge and did have a very good flavor to them.   Ryder got a Philly Cheesesteak and he said his was good.  As an appetizer, he ordered some chicken strips and was happy with those.  The two dips that came with the strips were good.  My mother-in-law wasn't overly happy with her food either. I wasn't impressed with the prices either.  I felt that they were high.  No wonder they didn't list the prices on their online menu.  Most people wouldn't want to pay that much.  It worked out to roughly $20 per person without the tip!  If it was "real" food and not premade, packaged food from a chain restaurant I might not bulk as much but not for that.  I don't plan on going back there to eat. Ryder and Madi said they don't want to go there again either.  However, it was time spent with family so I wouldn't take the time back and we also tried out another new restaurant.  It was time well spent even if the food didn't turn out so great.

   Tonight, we are going to go to my in-laws to have Easter dinner with Jerm's family.  I am taking coleslaw and candied carrots.  We will be going to my mom's after church for dinner tomorrow. She has everything covered for dinner at her house. It is also a smaller dinner (9 people) since it will just be our family and my brother's family attending. 

   So I will end my post with that.  I hope you all have a most blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

From My Front Porch

  I missed last months From My Front Porch but really it wasn't much to miss.  Everything has been dreary and gloomy so those pictures wouldn't have been much to look at.  Actually, in the late winter/early spring there isn't much to look at but water, mud and bare trees! 

   So guess what todays pictures consist of- you got it- water, mud and bare trees!  Ok well, you won't see much mud because as I was taking these pictures it was raining pretty good.  You can see the muddy water though! I can see some buds starting to come onto several of the trees. 

   I love spring!  The temperatures are starting to come back up and new life is starting on the farm.  My dad is getting ready to raise some chickens, turkeys and pigs.  He has the new pens and hutches built so next comes the animals!  I am not sure when the cows are coming back this spring but when they arrive I will get some new pictures posted.

In this picture you can see the water flowing along the road and running across the driveway.  There is too much water for the ditch to handle!

Ryder decided to drag the basketball hoop down to the driveway for spring.  He has some repairs that he wants to do to it.  Last fall a pop up storm came through and blew it over.  It roughed it up a bit but nothing he can't fix.  However, he did announce that we would need a new basketball... Ours was looking pretty bad last year so I guess it's time for a new one. In this photo you can see the water running through the yard in the tracks from the golf cart and the 4-wheeler.

   The grass is really getting green.  Ryder said it will be soon time to mow it!   :-)  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Random Thoughts and Updates

   It has been a quite awhile since I visited the blog.  I wasn't trying to avoid posting or writing but I was just plain ol' busy.  I decided that I wasn't going to push to get something written even though I have been very aware of the time that passed. 

   We are currently experiencing some warmer weather but not hot.  It has been in the lower 60's and I can definitely handle that. I am usually not in a hurry to rush warmer temperatures but this year has been different and I am (im)patiently waiting for warmer weather.  I am ready to get back to shorts and t-shirts. 

   Madi brought this little kitty home from the store about 2-3 weeks ago.  Someone dropped off/abandoned this little kitty and she was bones covered with skin. The poor little thing broke Madi's heart and she called me to ask permission to bring her home and try to nurse her back to health.  Madi named her Buffy and she is thriving and growing like crazy.  She feels like silk- so smooth.  Buffy is such a sweet and loving kitty.  She is a cuddle kitty too. She loves to nap and snuggle right by you. 


   Ryder celebrated a birthday recently and he made it easy on me.  We met with family at a little local eatery about 5 minutes away and then returned home for cake, ice cream and gifts.  I only had to clean and make two cakes.  He wanted a Funfetti cake and a butter cake with chocolate icing.  He asked my mom to make him a pineapple upside down cake also.  I told him that I could make that cake but he said that Gam's cake tastes better!  I had to laugh because I learned how to make the cake from her and make it exactly like she does.  Oh well, it saved me the work and the cake did taste awesome! (I did take a small bite and it didn't hurt my stomach.) My mama does make a good pineapple upside down cake!

   One of the gifts Ryder received for his birthday was a drum set.... Yes, a drum set and Jeremiah and I were the ones to give it too him.  I have regretted that decision several times already BUT since he has been playing them and Madi will play them while he plays his electric guitar it is starting to sound so much better and not just banging.  I am quite impressed by how quickly they have both picked up playing them.  It will actually sound pretty good with some more practice. 

   We have not been parents to shy away from giving our kids musical instruments like recorders and flutes or xylophones and toy drums when they were little.  I have always felt that music was good for brain development.  Both of the kids were introduced to classical music at birth.  Madilynne doesn't care much for classical music now but Ryder still enjoys it and will occasionally listen to it before bed.  Jerm played guitar for both kids all the time and later he encouraged them to strum guitar along with him once they were old enough to follow simple instruction- around a year old or so.  We also sang a lot to them when they were little. 

   Our kids enjoy playing acoustic and electric guitar, ukulele, keyboard, harmonica, violin and now drums.  They both started formal instruction on violin and branched out from there on their own.  They are self-taught on the remaining instruments for the most part.  They received some instruction on guitar from some family members but not much.  I probably couldn't afford lessons anymore!  LOL  I'm glad they have a good base knowledge of music to teach themselves. 


   As for my digestive issues... I have been doing really good in watching what I eat but I have sampled some foods that contained gluten.  I have only experienced a bellyache once but that was because I knowingly ate more than I should have.  I have found that if I only sample something it is ok but more than that isn't good for me.  I am hoping that I am getting better because I wasn't able to sample before without getting sick.  I just need more time. 


   I have been clearing away a lot of junk and clutter from our home lately.  I am gearing up to do some Spring cleaning soon and I need to get rid of the "stuff" first.  I feel so much better getting rid of it.  It just took up space and made everything look messy.  Much to my surprise, a lot of the clutter was truly junk that just needed pitched.

   Well, I figure that's enough stuff to write about until the next time... Have a blessed day!