Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Garden Abundance

This is one of those posts that's probably more for me than you, the reader. I am at home this morning. I have been sort of taking inventory. Between our garden and our generous friends, here's the run down of what we have for the winter:

  • 28 quarts of Spaghetti Sauce
  • 32 quarts of Salsa
  • 7 pints of pickled hot peppers
  • 62 quarts of green beans
  • 16 pints of Sloppy Joe sauce
  • 11 quarts of Applesauce (more of that to can yet)
  • 15 spaghetti squash (probably that many more to pick yet)
  • 136 cups of shredded zucchini
  • 82 quarts of corn
  • 20 gallons of frozen tomatoes (to be made into more sauce, either spaghetti or chili)
  • 42 pints of diced tomatoes
  • 3 gallon bags of small bags of chopped onions, some of them dehydrated
  • 2 gallons each of dried pinto and kidney beans, plans to can, haven't gotten that far yet

I have made up jalepeno poppers and a pear crisp to be baked later, that are in freezer. Today's projects are more apples to go into the freezer for pies or apple cake. Hoping to can more applesauce. Plans are to dehydrate some of the jalepeno peppers. I did that last year, then ground them up and used it all year long to season taco meat. There are more tomatoes yet, most of which will get frozen. I like being able to pull out a gallon or so to add to the fresh ones and go ahead and start canning as soon as the tomatoes get ripe or having them in there in case we run out of spaghetti sauce, I am able to can more when needed. The sunflowers are dried pretty well, will need to start brining and roasting them, as they are a favorite of my farmers.
Besides stocking our own pantry, I have been lucky enough to share our garden's produce with over 20 different people! These newly added items, along with last years leftovers in my fruit cellar and freezers is such a re-assurance to me, nice to know that if things are tight, my grocery bill is helped out by these things. Certainly feel blessed.
Okay, well now that I have listed it and expressed my thankfulness, time to fix some lunch for my Farmer, as his harvest is only in the beginning stages.
Enjoying my day at home and feeling blessed~
From Tulip,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's fall, and besides harvest, what does that mean? FOOTBALL

Okay so momma bragging moment, totally unrelated to the farm sort of post today. I guess this post is just a good reminder that work hard and play hard are in good balance at H&K Farms right now. School has started back for fall, and so has HS football. Our middle son is the starting Tight End for the Varsity team. This is the first time he's played a position where he has had the chance to score a touchdown. So besides it being his first touchdown of the season, its the first varsity TD, and first one ever! We were pretty excited!
At home, silage is being chopped. Won't be long till the calves get weaned and corn shelling/harvest begins. It's a busy season at the farm, but we have a great excuse for some evenings off to go and watch that guy!

Feeling the blessings of motherhood,
From Tulip~
Pictures courtesy of:

Friday, August 8, 2014


When most writers talk about their family; parents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins are mentioned. Those who tend to be more colorful and descriptive with their stories, speak of family trees, branches and roots. Well this blog post is all about family, but I am going to talk about neighbors, gravel roads, church, the school bus, 4H and FFA. That's my 'farm mom' version of family. Both the Farmer and myself have great big, large loving families who we are blessed to have in our lives. But we have some more family that add to our blessings exponentially. It's our Tulip family. What's our Tulip family you might ask?
Well, they are the people we go to church with, our kids are in 4H and FFA with, ride the same school bus, show cattle, wrestle or play football, and the list goes on and on. Its the person we call when we have more sweet corn to pick than we will ever want to put up in the freezer. The person who calls from town and wants to know should they bring your kids home as well from whatever the days event is. Its the person who when you get done a day or so before them with harvest, instead of putting the combine and trucks away you move to their field and help them get done or vice-versa.
A few weeks ago our little farm girl was hurt in an accident. She was helping put up square bales of hay and ended up falling off the wagon and the tires ran over her. She is lucky and blessed, as are we, that she only has a broken bone in her shoulder to heal. As we were gathering up to head to the hospital, myself in the ambulance with her and the Farmer following, the Tulip family took over.
While we were tending to our sweet JH at the hospital, there were family members showing up at the farm. There were, at one point, my boys say, 11 people in our hay loft stacking hay. I think at least 3 crews-worth picking up the bales. And the women came and cooked food for all the guys who were working. The accident happened as the first load was coming out of the field. When the baling was done, the counter was on 1429. That soon into the job, I was just beginning to cook the food for the crew. The family stepped in and took care of the business at hand.
Before we could even get to the hospital, the church prayer chain had started. Social media lit up with questions of 'Whats happening?' I was both busy enough worrying about what we would find out and fielding texts and calls that I hadn't posted anything and of course my phone charge died moments after getting to the hospital. We let a few folks know and spoke with our boys who were at home. But we were reassured each and every time to take care of JH, they had things well in hand.
Boy did they. When I was finally able to get the chance to contact others, the work at home had been done. All that was left was to nurse our little girl back to health and return calls, and well wishes that poured into every crack and crevice.
In this world of instantly knowing everything, sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not. In this instance, I believe the prayers of our loved ones, were the prevailing reason that we brought our sweet girl home, just a day later. She was showered with flowers, balloons, cards, treats and so much more. If I started trying to list all of it, I would surely miss someone. So I would just like to say, thank you EVERYONE. You have no idea what everything you did meant to our family. You bless us.

Counting my blessings,
From Tulip~

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer time at my house means............

It's summer, supper is served after dark, usually there is something from the garden on the menu. We come in the house late, because almost every night there's a cattle 'show' in my backyard. Like tonight, take a look. 

Some participants are a little too enthusiastic and 'get' to sit in Dad's lap to watch. Poor puppy, she  hates it can't you tell?

Was planning to post a Silent Sunday post, but you know me, can't be silent. Hoping your summer is as blessed  as ours. 
Cooking supper and posting late on a Sunday evening,
From Tulip~

Friday, June 20, 2014

Crockpot Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket from Kitchen Counter Chronicles

A few days ago, I promised another recipe post. In sharing recipes on this blog, my usual routine is to make the food, take pictures during the prep and then write up the blog entry. Well, life got in the way. But I have talked and talked about this recipe to so many people, I wanted to be sure and share the link to the recipe.

Kitchen Counter Chronicles is a blog I came across several weeks ago in my search to find some way to prepare beef brisket. It's one cut of meat that I love to eat, when someone else cooks it, but I have never figured out a prep that I was happy with the results-----------UNTIL NOW.

This summer with all the changes from the norm that my household is transitioning through, I have done quite a bit of research into recipes that my kids can help prepare, since they are generally home more than I am. I have also tried to really consider my resources and use up what we have, so some creative uses for cuts of meat that I am lucky enough to already have in my freezer was part of that research. Our kids are getting older and are more able to help out in this way. I am also in hopes that I am helping them be better prepared for adult life in all of these skills that they are learning. That is my consolation for the mother guilt that plagues me being away from them so much of the time.

Anyway, back to the brisket. This is the easiest prep I have found for brisket and totally rocks fixing it in the Crockpot as the house doesn't get heated up. We have eaten it both sliced and shredded, love it each way. Go check out the link and enjoy a hearty meal with your family.

Quick post from 'work' as I try to organize the rest of my day,
(not) From Tulip~

Monday, June 16, 2014

What's for Dinner Wednesday---Quick and Easy Chicken and Stuffing

In this busy life of two town jobs for the month of June, I have barely gotten to catch my breath, much less, do something I like to do............but I had a minute and a new recipe, so here goes.

Quick and Easy Chicken and Stuffing

6 frozen boneless chicken breasts
1 can 'cream of' soup (I used mushroom tonight)
2 boxes of Stove Top stuffing, any flavor, prepared (I used the generic and cornbread flavor)
'Some' grated cheese (tonight it was the end of the bag of mozzarella and the end of the bag of cheddar)

Prepare the stuffing according to directions. Place chicken breasts in large shallow baking dish. Cover chicken with spoonfuls of the soup. Cover that with the stuffing. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes.

While probably 75% of our meals a based around a cut of beef, I do buy the 'big bag' of frozen chicken breast for an occasional break in routine. My mother shared her version of this recipe with me last fall and we tweaked it a bit to suit our tastes and doubled it to feed our household and its a great 'quick meal' which seems to be the theme of my cooking as of late.

And now the picture------

Well, since I am  blogging..............a quick recap......planting is done. First cutting of alfalfa was chopped and bagged for sileage. Oldest son has a 'town job' in the evenings, middle son is amidst summer conditioning for football, daughter has taken over lunch cooking duties with my TWO town jobs, littlest son has become an expert jeans towels and sheets laundry guy. My Farmer is up to his eyeballs in hay. 

I am planning to make another new favorite beef recipe tomorrow night, if I remember to take a few pictures I will be posting it soon, stay tuned!

Gotta love summer, hoping to actually get to enjoy it soon,
From Tulip~

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's for Dinner Wednesday--Recycling (that oughta make you at least read on!)

Haven't done a W4DW post in a while, might be kinda if that title didn't already point THAT fact out to you!!! LOL

My post today is about recycling, it really is..............before you start gagging and carrying on, keep reading!!!

Okay, who out there throws away the last slice or so of bread on a regular basis? Yes I am looking for a show of hands, you're nodding your head, yeah I see you!

In my attempt to not be so wasteful and the frugal-ness of a mother of 4 trying to stretch a budget, I finally figured out in my almost 43 years of age just WHAT I could do with those last few slices and the heal, or is it heel, hmmm not sure..........


The Farmer, my littles and myself are pretty regular salad eaters along with our steaks, roasts and other various cuts of beef. It really bugs me to pay for croutons that rarely last a week at our house (people tend to grab the bag and snack on them, BESIDES their supposed serving suggestion as a salad garnish, who knew?)

Yes I am rambly and wordy today, mostly because I only have a few pictures, the recipe is really short and I am oh so proud of myself for figuring out a 'free solution' to this crouton dilemma that has plagued the farmhouse at H&K for years now.

Ah yes, back to the business at hand, the recipe. I have made you suffer long enough, so here goes:

1 tablespoon melted butter for every 3-4 slices of bread
Season Salt
Garlic Powder
Parsley Flakes

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

Slice your bread into cubes.

Melt the butter (microwave 30 seconds generally gets that)

Into your melted butter add the seasonings and no I don't measure this..........scientifically, I would say several shakes. Is that close enough?

Pour the seasoned melted butter over your bread cubes. Stir to coat evenly. Spread on a cookie sheet into a single layer.

Bake approximately 20 minutes (--ish) or until your cubes have become CROUTONS and are to the desired hardness/dryness. After cooling, store in a airtight container. (I use a ziplock bag)

Obviously you could season these however you prefer, that's just the combo that my family seems to like the most. I really don't see myself buying them again. In our household of carrying cold lunch to school, there's ALWAYS an abundance of 'the end of the loaf of bread'

JH, my little future farm woman/cooks helper made TWO batches this last weekend. We've only had salad's once this week and the croutons have disappeared. Guess I should employ her to make more.

Enjoying the sunshine and glad it seems that possibly Spring has arrived to stay,

From Tulip~



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homemade Gifts are the Best---Tutorial, my first!

I have this really good friend who had a birthday recently that is just one of those people who you want to do something special for. My friend Melinda does so much for so many that she inspired me to make this gift. Now the blogger in me actually had it together while creating, and I took pictures, so I thought I would share it with you!
Supplies needed:
2 dishtowels, 3 fat quarters (one will be the appliqued design), double sided double sided interfacing, like this interfacing 1/4 yard Insul-Bright, 'scraps' of quilt batting.

First off, find a simple design you like. I wanted a show steer silhouette. I literally google image searched and traced an outline from my computer screen. There's probably a better method, but that worked for me. (I was out of printer ink and in a hurry!)
Once you have your design, apply the pellon to your fabric. I cut my pattern out on the interfacing, and ironed it to the back side of the fabric, then it was easy to cut out the design, especially since I used black. 
(had to hurry and cut those out some I could flip 'em over and not see white cows!) LOL

Next step is to appliqued them on to your project. I centered them on the dishtowels. Pinned them in place and sewed them on the machine, with a blanket stitch on my sewing machine. 
Once they were appliqued, the dish towels were basically done. The Hot Pad construction begins now.

I appliqued the design onto one corner of each fat quarter. Based mostly on the size of my design and actually going to my kitchen drawer and measuring, I ended up with 8 inch squares for my hot pads. I think you could adjust that based on your needs and the size of the design you pick. 
Cut 2 squares. (I did this after appliqueing, thought the bigger piece of fabric was a little easier to work with.)

I also cut 3 strips of 2 inch wide 'binding' for the edges. (turns out 2 would have been enough, live and learn) 
Next, cut same sized squares of Insul-Bright and batting. You need 1 square of the Insul-Bright and 2 squares of batting for each finished hot pad.
Layer together: fabric, batting, Insul-Bright, batting and fabric; like this:
Quilt it however you like, I was pretty basic and just quilted a straight seam across each corner. 
The next step was to 'bind' the hot pad. The way I do binding is this: I sew together the strips into a long 'snake' (my 4H girls like that terminology) the press it hotdog bun style (another 4H quilt project term) 
I sew it around matching raw edges to the hot pad edge and finish the hot pad. With a scrap from the binding, I made a loop for the hot pad. Did that like this:
I cut a strip of about 3inches (no I didn't measure) I pressed in the ends, then opened the 'hot dog bun' and folded in the sides. 
Pressed it all together flat. Then I 'caught' the ends on the back side of the hot pad as I was sewing the binding down. 
There's how it looked. (yes I probably should have matched threads, sigh...........)
Finished project. 

There they all are again, to remind you. FYI--the black fabric is 'Grunge' from Moda. I like to use it for a solid, has a neater texture than JUST a solid. The brown striped print was a Red Rooster fabric and I am not sure on the red plaid. The Dish towels are Dunroven House purchased at my local quilt shop, Material Girl Quilt Shop and lastly, the cool little 'can' was purchased at a local gift shop, Addie Jane's. both shops have facebook pages, next time you are on there, stop in and tell them I said HI (make sure to LIKE them also!!) 

Well gift made, blog post written, now to listen to my St. Louis Cardinals!

Have a great spring week, I think its finally here to stay,

From Tulip~



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Once Upon a Sunny Spring Saturday at H&K Farms!

What did you do today? This morning I sat lamenting at all I  had to do, and kinda gave myself the proverbial kick in the seat of the pants and told myself, 'Self, you can sit here and worry about or get on it" I got on it! 
With my town jobs, I am rarely home during the day, during the week, so weekends are full of playing catch up. Today's things that got caught up and new projects that were tackled, were as follows, take a look!

I am making Fruit Roll-ups, I pureed 3-4 cups of peaches that we had frozen in the freezer. They've been drying since before lunch and haven't reached the dry to the touch state, which what my dehydrator recipe suggested was 'done' My kids and I are all anxiously awaiting. I will try and share more details and a review, once we've actually tasted them. All that I used was the peaches, they had been sweetened a little at the time of freezing, but nothing else added and look how pretty it still looks, I was concerned that they would turn brown maybe, so far so good! 
 Other projects today included burning off the dried up stalks and vines in the garden. My Farmer and middle son LOVE to burn things, can see the smoky remains, they didn't get it all, but they will have another excuse to burn another day. :)
 This was my fence that we tied the tomatoes to last year, all cleaned off, we will move it so that we can disc the garden soon. We do this with the tractor and a big disc, like less than two swipes and its over, hopefully I will catch the Farmer doing this and take his picture! You know how he LOVES that!
 Then here's our MASTERPIECE in recycling, meet the H&K Farms newest addition to our gardening fury, a HOT BOX! I am so excited, my grandpa used to always have one and raised most everything from seed, a lot of the seed was kept from year to year. I was that organized. But the railroad ties are some that the Farmer bought who knows how long ago. The glass door was literally a DUMPSTER diving expedition done by me, helped out by my dad who hauled it home from my work, my office is next to a window and door place that had thrown that out. If anyone else wants to make a hotbox, I have a second one! ;) 
 I did splurge and buy the little divided planting containers, but am thinking already to next year and think that I could get by with those cardboard egg cartons! You see above you, future sweet peppers and hot pepper, plus two kinds of tomatoes. HOPEFULLY!!! 
 Of course no H&K picture post would be complete without black cows. Since this gal came up and posed, I took her picture. 
Her friends were too busy eating to pose, so I got an 'action' shot. That's about as much action as you get out of a group of VERY PREGNANT heifers. Notice how muddy the lot is? We got over 3 inches of rain this week, most of in a 24-hour period, so its a little, scratch that A LOT wet around here. So much so that the dog isn't invited in so quickly. She doesn't know it but tonight she's getting her Saturday night bath. She will be thrilled I am sure.
Well it's still daylight, I think I will go see if there's any charcoal left from last year and end this day at home on our farm with some of the fruits of our labor, a nice juicy steak.

Loving spring and feeling blessed to see nature come to life on the farm,

From Tulip~



Sunday, March 30, 2014

So The Farmer took me on a date to see the other women in his life................

Busy weekend, lots of projects, thought I would stop by and share some pictures that after posting to facebook, it blew up with notifications. Enjoy!

Hoping today's weather was a sign of things to come,
From Tulip~