Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Load of Hay

We went and got a load of hay for the horses the other day. When we got back from the farm where the hay is raised we decided that the cottonwood tree that is always in the way had to go.

 The tree was accidentally planted so that it makes it difficult to back up to the shed to unload. The tree has not been doing well for the past two years and we had kept threatening to cut it down. The time had come for the tree to go. But instead of cutting it down with a saw we decided to pull it down with the truck and trailer. Here are photos of the pitiful little tree coming down and being drug away. As you can see it didn't have much of a root ball. There are places in our yard where there is calichi clay under the ground which will not let anything grow. I think this tree was on some of the clay.

last photos are of the hay being unloaded and Tuffee being a hay dog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tuffee's Hole

Tuffee dug a hole in the damp dirt by the house. She looked cute in it but I got afraid the rock would fall in on her if she dug any more so we filled it in. She just dug another one beside of the first hole but at least the rock wasn't near it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Boys & Pony

Preston and Jayson were thrilled to be able to learn about my pony, Stormy. They learned to groom him and lead him, but most importantly learned to be calm and gentle when around a pony. Stormy seemed to like all the attention. I was so proud of him. He had never been around young children and was so good with the boys. Of course I was right there with them at all times.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


these are my aunts, Elnora and Wanda who also came to visit me for a couple of days. In the second photo are my aunts and myself. It was sure good to see them.


We have had more company in the past month than we usually have in a year. Here are some photos of my nephew James and his wife, Aubri, and sons, Preston and Jayson. The boys had fun with the dogs, and learning about ATV's.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Making Jelly

     I have been trying my hand at making jelly since we had such a large crop of apples and peaches this summer. Making jelly is a long, time consuming process.
      First you pick the fruit. Then you wash the fruit, cut it open and in the case of apples you can get the juice in several ways. One way it to simply cut the apples in at least quarter pieces, the smaller the better and cook them. Or if you want you can core the apples and cut into small pieces and cook them. You can peel them but you are loosing a lot of juice doing that as it does when you core them. Once the apples have cooked for an hour or so they will be very soft and mushy. Let the fruit cool until it can be handled. The most efficient way I found was to put several pieces of cheesecloth layered together in the ricer, or sieve and use a large metal spoon to smash the fruit causing the juice to leak through the cloth and sieve and into a large container under the sieve. When the fruit was all smashed I would pull the cloth out of the sieve, remove the sieve from the container and holding the top of the cloth closed with one hand I would squash the apple pulp in the cloth to get the rest of the juice out. Refrigerate until ready to make the jelly.
     For the peaches I would wash them, cut them open removing the pit and cook the fruit following the same procedure as for the apples. This works for almost all fruit.
     Now to the jelly. Heat the juice until warm. At the same time heat a large (and I mean large) pan of water with a lid for sterilizing the jelly jars. You can buy large canning pots with a lid and metal basket in it that work well. Mine is about five gallon pot. The jars I use for jelly are half pint jars. I use pint jars for canning applesauce, and apple slices, and peach slices. Wash the jars, their screw on rings and the sealing lids that have a rubber seal around the edge that come with them. When you first buy jars they will have all three parts but jars and screw on rings can be used over and over. Never use an already used sealing ring. It won't work properly.You just have to buy new sealing lids each time you seal a jar.
      When the water in the large pot is boiling gently drop just the jars in the water to sterilize them. While that is happening add a packet if SureJell to the juice and bring to a full rolling boil that can't be stirred down. Add the sugar. (SureJell has information on how to do this in all packets of Sure Jell and each kind of fruit needs a different amout of juice per sugar amount.) Again bring to a boil and stir one minute at full rolling boil that can't be stirred down. You can skim the small amount of foam off the top if you want.
     You should now have very hot jelly.  
      I did the first batch of apple jelly and it came out perfectly.
      Oh, but the second batch didn't. It wasn't boiling and it wasn't boiling and I turned my back on it for about 15 seconds and it came to a boil and went all over the stove top, down the side of the stove both outside the door and inside the oven door. And all over the floor and under the stove.
     What a mess!
     I was able to rescue 7 jars of jelly of the 9 I had figured for. And it jelled and was fine. By the time hubby came in I had cleaned up most of the jelly on the stove top and down the door. But he had to help me pull out the stove and clean the floor under it.
     OK I thought. Something always has to go wrong with cooking. this should be all of it.
     I froze 8 quarts of peaches in the freezer and canned 6 pints of applesauce as well as having about 3 pints I kept for eating right away.
     Next was some peach jelly. Horrors! It didn't jell!
     I tried the information for redoing the jelly on the SureJell packet when it doesn't jell and it still didn't jell. I called them. They told me they didn't have any information except what was on the packet. (So why are there people you can call for help?)
       I opened all the sealed jars, dumped them in the pot for cooking the jelly, started over but didn't add any sugar. but did add another packet of SureJell. It worked. Peach jelly jelled.
      Now I have done a batch of jelly of half peach and half apple juice mixed together. I is good jelly.

     Hubby has been pealing apples for more applesauce so I guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Children & Tractors

It seems that children always want to ride the tractor. This is our neighbors granddaughter and in one photo she has her dad making sure she doesn't do anything she shouldn't. She even had to inspect the bucket.

Hubby & Tractor

Even hubby got into the dirt moving business with the tractor.

Bull Snake

With all the moving of dirt with the tractor a snake was discovered wondering around wondering what was happening to his home. We assumed he or she was a bull snake as it didn't have any rattles on it's tail but it could have been some other kind of snake as I am not very versed on snake species. Anyway we encouraged it to slitter up in under a wild four-a-clock clump and it has not been seen since. I don't bother them if they as they eat lots of mice and rats of which we have enough for several snakes like this one.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Long Weeks

It's been a long 10 days since my son left to go back to Los Cruces, NM. I haven't even been able to appreciate all the work he did here yet.
      First it was off to have an ultra sound on my feet. That sounds strange, huh. I had been to doctor to see why my feet hurt all the time and it felt like a stress break or something in my left ankle. She gave me a brace to wear on my left ankle to support it. Not fun having to wear it but feels better with it. Having a man move my feet and toes while pushing on them with an ultra sound guide or what ever it is called while taking the images was a bit strange.
      Then it was a job with feet that hurt to clean house because my aunts were coming to visit for a couple of days. Elnora is 83 and Wanda is 81. They are my moms sisters and still doing well. They were here for about 2 days. They had left California and driven to Tucson, AZ to visit one aunts daughter, my cousin, and family. Then off to Los Cruces where they saw my sister, Sarah, and some friends. Then to Almagordo, NM to see more friends. Then to Albuquerque to see another friend and then to my house. When they left here they were going back to Tucson and on to their home in southern California. I hope I can do as much when I am their age.
     This week I have been off to the foot doc again who told me the ultra sound showed I that the tendon that runs down over the inside of my left ankle is shot. It is not any good at all any more and there is nothing will make it better. I will be wearing a brace on that ankle from now on. As for the nerve damage just behind my toes in the ball of my foot she said the best thing to try was a series of shots to deaden the nerves to stop the pain. She said they would bruise my feet and maybe make them hurt worse for a week or so. I am glad to say the bruising wasn't as bad as some cortisone shots I had a few years ago that didn't stop any of the pain. And I am glad that there has been a little less pain than normal so I am hoping the shots will help. I will have a series of about 5 of them, once a week. In the mean time I will be getting a brace made for my ankle.
     This is not what I had planned for my retirement years.
     I have also gone to get my drivers license since it has been four years since I have done it. It didn't seem that long. Usually it is a long time of sitting and waiting as they never have enough people working their but I was lucky and it only took about an hour.
     Now I am cleaning house again as my nephew, and his wife and two sons are coming to visit next weekend.
     Plus I have been canning apples, peaches, applesauce, and making apple jelly. But that is another story to be posted later.