Becky's Farm Life

The simple life, living off God's land, one day at a time.

Answering Your Questions :) & Updates

Most of these have to do with Canning Potatoes post. This post is the most read/looked up/searched for post on this blog. Which to me is a little funny as I have canned potatoes for 10 plus years. Now more and more people are canning more than just jellies and  vegs.

 

Tanya: love your web site…I too am into canning and have gotten a friend of mine into it but she came across a problem that I have never had so wondering if you have…She canned potatoes and at least half of them the lid actually popped up..later when they cooled off they went back down but left wrinkles in the lid..do you think they are safe and has this ever happened to you…thanks for any help are suggestions///

Tanya,

Sometimes this happens to me too, at least one time a canning season. I think it’s the lids (weak). If the jars have sealed, they are still good. But I do use those with the wrinkled tops first. If they didn’t seal put in the icebox and use as soon as you can.

 

 

Katye Birdsong:  Becky, Do you have a recipe for canning peppers? chili and banana peppers?

Katye,

No, I don’t. I usually freeze mine.

 

Oscar:  Good afternoon Ms. Becky I hope you and your family are well. I would like to can the makings of a potato soup/stew. Can potatoes be canned along with other vegetables such as onions and carrots….or beef?
Take care. O.W.

Oscar:

Yes, you can can potatoes with all you listed above. But I have found it easier here at our home to can them all by them selves, as you can do more with them not mixed. When I make Beef stew- in a pot put a jar of: potatoes, carrots, beef(meat), and any thing else you like in there, cook to warm up and eat. But if you want to mix them look in a canning book and see which takes the longest and can for that time for mixed things. This goes for all things you mix to can, use the longest time. Hope this helps, if not let me know and I’ll try again. ok

 

Yvon:  Becky, I just got a pressure canner and was very eager to try it. Mom has done her veggies all her life in a water bath but thought I would do the safer thing and get a pressure canner. I just tried to can to qts of potato for my first try. One didn’t seal so I thought I would taste them. I’m a potato lover and I have to say I have never tasted worse potatoes in my life. They almost had a burnt taste without being burnt or over cooked. What did I do wrong. I followed the Bernadin book. It’s early June and used old potatoes, could that be the problem? Thanks   Yvon, a newbie at canning.

Yvon:

It is best to pressure can most vegs, some are safe to hot water bath, but not many. Old potatoes are your problem for sure.  I have at times used store bought potatoes on sale but they must be hard still, with no eye growth. Most times I can the potatoes out of the garden, dig up one day and can them the next. Good luck and let me know how it goes canning this year please.

 

Katye Birdsong:  Becky, Have you ever thought of writing a book? Your website is so interesting! I’m sure it would sell! My husband came up with that idea.

Katye:

Ok Lord, I get the hint. Katye you see, you and your husband are not the first to say that. My late husband being the first( 2 1/2 years ago.) and then other readers here.  But that would be stepping out of my comfort zone. And second, I have not the faintest clue were to start, or how to put it in a book form.  So for now you all get it free here. 🙂 But as this writing a book thing keeps come up all around me, I will look more into. But please pray for me in this area, that the Lord’s will be done, as this is why I started the blog here.

 

Updates:

  Tasha’s baby, Gabby, is now about 6 1/2 lbs as of today, and is due in under 3 weeks. We are ready and trying hard to wait on her. Tasha had an ultra sound today, the last one. Little Miss Gabby is head up and feet down. Please pray that she will turn the right way soon. Thank you for all your prayers for me and my family.

    I’m doing good most days, more so than a month ago. Thank you Lord. I really miss my better half, a lot. And I’m learning to live again, one day at a time. I’m finding me. (Only moms and wives will understand this.) Some how we lose ourselves over the years. The girls are doing great. We are waiting for our blessing from above, Miss Gabby.

   The farm is doing good. I have made bigger chicken pens. I need to make 2 more different pens. We are chicken sitting for about 8 weeks. Now that’s a true farm, chicken sitting (watching for a out of town friend). Really starting to miss the fresh cows milk. I have a few gallons in the freezer for when I get the withdraw shakes for fresh raw cow’s milk.  🙂 🙂

   I have not found any new tips, hints, money savers lately. I only planted tomatoes and strawberries this year. Our food barn is full ( only 3 girls eating and no men, should last us way longer than a year), and it’s been a long time since I/we have enjoyed a summer, more than 10 years. So the girls and I are going to see what we can do besides hoe and weed all summer. I think Tommy knew this too, when he had me start stocking foods 3 years ago. But next year will be garden time again. This will be a easy summer for us because of Tommy’s insight.

   Well I better go for now. Thank you all very much for reading my blog. May God bless you all. Have a great day.

Becky

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June 10, 2009 Posted by | Canning, chickens, family, farm life, freezing, garden, self sufficiency, Stocking up, update | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Ok, Let’s Try It Again

   First off, thank you all for your prayers. I am still kicking, just had a few bad days. (almost a pity party) Funny how easy it can sneak up on you.  For a few days, I felt like I was in a black hole and could not get out, and at times did not want out. You all know how your mind can play games with you. But the sun has come back out and the black hole is gone.  Thank you Lord. So I am going to try  again and get this blog going with more posts.

   I dropped my power bill by: turning off lights and use them only at night when it’s dark or work is being done, using the small night lights in hallway and bathrooms ( no need turning on all those lights when the night light works fine), now I do turn the bathroom light on to take a shower, the cow fence charger was taken down( it used power), unplugged the extra ice box, turned off the water heater during the day and off after showers, TV-VCR-computers etc are plugged into a power strip that turned off when not in use, no dryer (not using it to dry wash cloths like before about once a week, now I use homemade wash cloths and napkins so we are talking about almost 50 cloths to hang up.), do one load of dish in the dishwasher a day (no more- different glass every time you get a drink).

   My gas stove is getting fixed this Thursday, no more store bread. It went out months ago, and I have been using the small toaster oven. But it’s not big enough for bread. And the bread prices keep going up and up along with everything else. It’s a bit of money to get it fix. But I also see it as saving more money as I will be able to cook more at home. Boy we sure do miss my oatmeal cookies.  🙂 I have saved up to get it fixed. And can’t wait to get it back in working order. 

   TommieLynn’s male hamster got got last week. For three days he had freedom. Then this morning the female hamster was not in her cage when I woke up. Her and her 7 babies gone. I don’t mind telling you think twice and then think again before getting hamsters. Well her freedom did not last as long as his, only a few hours. Thank you Lord. And the kittens keep coming, now we are up to 14 kittens, 1 more cat due any day. Anyone need a great mouse cat, they are free. My cows were so much easier than these hamsters.  LOL

   It’s going on it’s second week of rain every day. Today it only rained this morning. My grass is almost knee high but it’s still to wet to mow and it’s supports to rain the rest of this week. So I have not even been able to do any garden work. My garden does not need to be that big this year as my food barn and freezers are still full. But we do need a few things. I am so thankful I started stocking up when Tommy told too, almost 2 years ago now.

   The jobs are still very few in this area. More and more people losing jobs and homes. And more are having their power turned off. More are growing gardens, and more are trying new ways of doing things to stretch their money. At times it’s overwhelming to see the way this world is going. But I’m ready for home.

   I have been making homemade popsicles out of kool-aid and juice, an quick snack.  I have the cream in the freezer for homemade  ice cream when it gets a little hotter. I am still stretching my meats at dinner, and having eggs at dinner as we have so many eggs. Sometimes just sandwiches. Trying very hard to buy less and less from the store, most of the time I do great. There are times when I do buy what I call extras/just because things. So far we are doing good. When KFC chicken sends out great deals with coupons on buckets of chickens, I get them and pack in meal size freezer bags. It a fast meal and better than the frozen box chicken. Does not happen often, but it’s a treat too. When we do go out to eat, we use coupons or no go. Have you all seen more then usual  coupons coming out in the mail? Some are great deals. Right now here, KFC has a 2 piece meal deal out for $2.00. I know fast food is not good for you, but sometimes you just need to get out, a night off.

   I need your help, ok. I have some many black ant hills in my yard it’s no long funny. Every other step, is a step into a ant hill and they are in my raised bed garden too. I have never seen so many. How can I get rid of them as they are now trying to come into the house??? They are breeding faster than rabbits and rats.  HELP !!

   I am still feeling my way through this new life, one day at a time, by God’s grace I/we will make it.

 

 

 

 

May 5, 2009 Posted by | economic situation, family, farm life, Food prices, freezing, ideas, low income, making do, saving money, self sufficiency | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Another week on the Farm – Winter is Coming Fast

I have stayed busy. Tommy has had a bad week but thank God, I think he’s getting better.  I have canned more potatoes, froze more milk and cream and eggs, and made a big batch of mozzarella cheese for the freezer. The mozzarella cheese photos and recipe, I will post in a few days.

I have 3 lbs. of  onion sets that need to be planted. I could not get any this past spring. So hopefully they will have enough time to grow this fall. I have never grown onions in  the fall, so this is my something new this year. We eat a lot of them. And two weeks ago at the store they were $2.?? for 3 lbs., used to be less than a dollar.

I am at the point were I hate, hate going to the store (any store). The prices on everything are up to unbelievable. Enough to make all sick. Thank God for my food barn, milk cow and chickens. I know a lot of you don’t have these things, and I am racking my brain on tips and hints for you. For right now, my tips are buy very wisely and learn to cook from scratch. I’ll be posting some easy from scratch recipes soon.

The chicken are slowly slowing down on their eggs. But I’m freezing a lot too.  The  milk cow is down to 3 gallons a day, and should keep going down now.  We have a cow in the freezer. Chickens to kill this fall when it cools off more.

Winter is on the way. And I’m almost ready, or should I say as ready as I can get. This summer has flown by. There are leaves all over the ground here. At times, I would love to put a hold on the winter coming, Saying I need a little more time to get ready. But the good Lord knows what’s He’s going, so I pray I’m putting up enough for the winter. And if not, He’ll find a way to supply what we need, not want.  I have felt like the ants in the Bible, more this year than ever before. And we have lived like this for years.  Does anyone else feel like the ants this year??  I feel we all are in for the longest, hardest winter world wide.

I would like to thank everyone for all your comments and your prayers. These blogs have been such a blessing to me in more than one way. To be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to help any one. But the overwhelming numbers are unbelievable. The canning potatoes post has reached  497 hits.  Are there any potatoes left out there?  Thank you all again.  I am just here to help you all any way I can.  There are so many people looking for ways to make it through all this mess. And my heart goes out to you all. I wish I could give you all a big hug.

Well it’s time to start another day. May God bless you all to overflowing today.

Becky

 

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Canning, eggs, Food prices, food storage, freezing, homemade cheese, making do, self sufficiency, Tommy, winter | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Freezing Eggs -Farm fresh and Store bought-with photos

Freezing Eggs
You crack say 2 -3 eggs into a bowl, add 1/4 tsp. of sugar or salt ( use sugar or salt depending on what the eggs will be used for), just pop the yolk, and pour into a freezer bag. label your bag sugar or salt and how many eggs inside. Check your most used recipes to find the number of eggs you use the most. I use 6 eggs in ice cream with 1/2 tsp of sugar. Eggs to eat, I pack in 3’s with 1/4 tsp salt. Eggs for cakes add sugar to eggs. The only thing you can’t do with these eggs is have them fried. I have found they last 6 -12 months in the freezer. The older they get, its best to use them in recipes than to eat plain. A lot of people don’t know you can freeze eggs.  After the first year here of home grown eggs, the store bought eggs didn’t taste so good any more. So I found a way to keep us in eggs when the hens slow down. This does work with store eggs, too. Date your bags and always use the oldest first. 

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I remembered I had all these Tupperware hamburger holders,

well they hold two eggs each. And stack so well, no freezer bags to buy now. 

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 These are 4 oz. cups I found at Wal-Mart, 4 for a $1. They hold 1 egg each. I’m still looking for the rest of my Tupperware hamburger holders, so these will do for now. I usually freeze butter in them.

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 Just poke the yolk, no stirring.

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 Add your sugar or salt.

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Then freeze it. These to take up a little more room in the freezer, but for now it’ll have to do. I can use them to fill in holes. Or when their froze I put them in a freezer bag.

Eggs all winter long. Happy freezing.

Becky

 

September 2, 2008 Posted by | eggs, food storage, freezing, ideas, making do, self sufficiency | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Garden and Farm and Home

I have been going full speed last few days. Right now it’s over 90, so I am taking a break in front of a fan. I am mulching everything I can, this so helps  with less weeding, and holds water in longer. I canned more quarts of  milk and quarts of green beans. Froze milk and eggs, and some cream(the only things you can not do with cream that has been frozen, is whip it. I make butter, ice cream and cheese with it as time allows). Thank you Lord, for a great garden and a milk cow who is giving more milk ( over 3 1/2 gallons a day, now)than I can keep what with, and 80+eggs to eat and eggs to put under hens( meat this winter). I hoed up another row of potatoes.  One of our hens hatched 3 more chicks ( total so far  this spring 11 chicks). I have got  to find time (somewhere) to make strawberry jam, and I’m almost out of butter.  The Lord has really blessed our farm and garden again. I am putting up everything I can get my hands on.   Our daughter is bring in more blackberries than I can keep up with and finding them in places they were not in before.  I know it’s going to be a very long, hard winter. And the Lord is providing food now to put up. Usually, when our garden and farm do above average, the winter coming has been hard and long. It has happened three different years, here. So that is why I am preparing more than I normally do, not just because of our economy and our income  dropping to a third.  This blog, Becky’s Farm Life , has gotten some many hits, from people looking to stock up on food and stretch their money, I know the Lord is trying to prepare them too.  I am just trying to help all I can. It’s becoming my mission for the Lord. People, I talk to face to face think I’m crazy for telling them to stock up and get ready. So the Lord showed me to start this blog, and they will come, and they have.  Please if any of you have ideas to add, please do so. As we are to help one another. And again, I don’t have all the answers, just telling what I know and what has worked here on our farm for years.

Tommy still has not gotten the gas line fixed under the house. So I am glad I have a gas stove top outside( this is where I can in the summer). In a way it’s a blessing, I can cook simpler meals,and the kitchen does not get so hot. Last night, we had eggs and bacon and toast and milk.  I just have to keep an eye out for the cats, they think it’s their dinner.  I am checking all my stored  things as I go to the store next week. I have cut going to town to every two weeks, it would be once a month but I don’t have room to store that much animal feed. As it is I get 700 lbs, every two weeks, this feeds 3- cows, 30 chicken, 4- dogs, 4- cats, 6- kittens. Do you need a kitten?  And many food we need for the next 2 weeks, I am so blessed to have a truck big enough to carry it all. When I come home from a day in town, the truck is packed tight. And usually  takes us about 3 hrs. to get everything put up.

The milk cow has been giving me a hard time. She was in her worse heat the other night. She want to play with the bull more than she wanted to eat and get milked. It took me 3  1/2 hours to milk her out, usually 20 min’s. She a great milk cow for it being her first year milking. Tommy says, It’s  a female thing, men think they know it all. I have another chicken wanting to sit on eggs, I will let her in a few days.   I have strawberry runners to cut off, and sucker the tomatoes, clothes to wash and hang out side. Hope every one has a blessed day.  So I better get up from in front of this fan and get more things done today. Becky

 

 

 

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Canning, canning milk, eggs, farming, food storage, freezing, garden, milking cow, Stocking up | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Freezing eggs,milk and canning cheese and milk: Answers

hopefulheart wrote a comment: Your blog is fasinating. Could you please tell me how to freeze eggs? I am buying fresh eggs from my friends now but as you now the chickens can be fickle ) And how long do they last in the freezer? What is the best way to freeze milk? How do you can cheese and milk? Do you use a water bath or pressure canner? Thanks for the help.

Freezing eggs: You crack say 2- 3 eggs into a bowl, 1/4 tsp of sugar or salt(use sugar or salt-depending on what the eggs will be used for), just pop the yoke , and pour into a freezer bag.  Label your bag sugar or salt. Check your most used recipes to find the number of eggs you use most. I use 6 eggs in ice cream- 6 eggs with 1/2 tsp sugar. Eggs to eat, I pack in 3 eggs with 1/4 tsp. salt. Eggs for cake mixes, add sugar to eggs. We have eaten the eggs I froze with sugar in them and they were good. The only thing you can’t do with these eggs, is have them fried. I have found they last 6-12 months. The older they get, its best to use them in recipes than to eat plain.  A lot of people  don’t know you can freeze eggs. After the first year here of home grown eggs, store bought didn’t look so good any more. So I found a way to keep us in eggs when the hens slowed down. This does work with store eggs ,too.  Date your bags and use oldest first.

 

Freezing Milk: I have found that best way to freeze milk is to use juice bottles or 2 liter bottles, WHY? the jugs that milk comes in is very thin and weak.  And more times than not, when the milk thaws the jug leaks. In a 2 liter bottle put a 1/2 gallon of milk, this will leave room for it to freeze.  Always date your bottles.  And it will thaw over night in ice box. I have found it will last 6- 12 months in freezer, I know that is not what is said, but that’s what works here. Just always use the oldest first.  We have done this for over 6 years now, and same with eggs.

 

Canning Cheese and Milk and Butter: These are listed in the recipes tab at the top.

Canning hard cheeses: We love sharp cheddar cheese but don’t like it frozen. You can, can any hard cheese this way. So I found a way to can it. In jelly/ or pint jars, in a pan of water (put jars in water), put cheese in jars(slice into small pieces) , allow to melt down  to 1 in. from top,  then put lids on and hot water bath 40 min. for both pints and jelly jars.The longer it sit on shelf the sharp it gets. We just got plans to build a cheese press, so as I can make my own cheddar cheese. We have had to wait to make it because I had no way or place to allow cheese to ripen. So now I’ll make it and can it. The can cheese will last 2 plus years in a cool dark place.

 

I will also copy this post into the recipes tab, so as it will be easier to find. Hope you all have a great day.

 

 

July 1, 2008 Posted by | Canning, creativity, food storage, freezing, Stocking up, stockpiling food | , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments