Yellow Apple Lemon Bunt Cake

This cake is so delightful. Recipe made by me – I love baking!!! It has a good pecan crunch with warm apples and a nice sugary glaze to top it all off.
It is definitely a good way to get rid of some leftover eggs from the girls! If you have old leftovers, you can feed it back to them. The one thing I love about
farming is that you can always recycle everything. Go ahead and try it out:


Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup oil
6 eggs
3 small lemons
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups chopped apples
Confectioners sugar

Directions:

1. Mix sugar, oil, and eggs together with a mixer. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a different bowl, then mix in increments into the sugar mixture.
2. Take off stand and add vanilla, apples, pecans, 2 lemons worth of zest, and 2 lemons worth of juice. Mix together by hand with spatula until combined.
3. Butter and flour a bunt cake pan. (tip: make a pat of butter soft by leaving it on the counter or barely heating in the microwave and use your hands to get it in the crevices) Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
4. When cooled in pan, turn out upside down onto cake holder/preserver. Take some zest from a lemon and juice and mix in confectioners sugar – if not runny, add water until at consistency of your liking. Pour over cake.

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Ginger Yellow Squash Bread

 

So before we start anything – let me ease your fears. You’re thinking “Squash!?!?!?” – well let me tell you – this bread is to DIE for. There’s nothing really “squashy” about it. Very decadent bread that makes you want to eat the whole loaf. So yummy. If you have tons of yellow squash from your garden that are overgrown like some of mine, this recipe will at least handle one of them. I took the recipe for zucchini bread here and concocted it into my own recipe. It was a big hit at the farmer’s market and I am sharing it with everybody here:

What you will need are two bowls – one for wet (large) and one for dry (small) ingredients.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and stir.
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Add in ground flax seed and mix together.

In the large bowl, beat eggs, olive oil, and sugar.

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Mix in the flour mixture until combined.

Stir in yellow squash, nuts, and raisins.

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Pour into loaf pans and bake!

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End result: yummy goodness.

Actual recipe:
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 cup ground flax seed
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 1/4 cup sugar (could probably be partially replaced by apple sauce)
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups yellow squash
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
A few pats of butter

Directions:
1. Grease with butter and flour two 8″x4″ loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a medium bowl. Mix in flax seed.
3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, olive oil, and sugar. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Stir in yellow squash and pecans. Pour into pans.
4. Bake 40-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and transfer to cooling racks. Eat slightly warmed with butter or completely cooled.

Homemade Natural Organic Herbicide and Pesticide

 

Since last year I have been using the same recipe for controlling pests, mold, and plant eating substances.

The results have been the same in the end – healthy thriving plants! I thought I might share with y’all the recipe for my successful concoction!

Ingredients and Supplies:

2 tsp orange oil or orange extract
3 tbsp vinegar
2-3 drops of dish soap
Water
1 gallon sprayer

Mix all of the ingredients in the gallon sprayer and there you go! Spray away! Spray on top and underneath leaves for bugs and the infected areas as a herbicide.

Orange oil is a natural killer of bugs and fungi/molds. If it does not work, increase the vinegar or orange oil until it works – but don’t use too much of either because they can hurt your plants if not diluted into a low concentration form. You will need to inspect plants and continue treatment – usually 1 to 2 weeks of every day use as a herbicide and an application once every 1 to 4 weeks for a pesticide depending on the bug. It depends on the severity in your garden.

This concoction worked very well last year on squash plant leaf molds.

Below is the sprayer I use, and the bug infected plants I sprayed today! The bugs fell right off after spraying.

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Poor plant that got eaten by bugs!

 

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Bug infested plant!

 

I hope that this concoction will help others in their organic gardens! I believe in making sure my family is as healthy as possible and try to inform others to help them on their paths to good health as well!

Make sure that you wash your produce from whatever excess soap residue…

Any comments or questions, post below.

🙂

Transplanting Tomato Plants

I went to the store to purchase some new heirloom varieties for transplanting into the new big garden my uncle tilled for me. They are supposed to be purple and there are some that are interesting shapes and sizes. I also planted some of the Organic “Big Boy” Tomato seeds I bought a few years back into a covered pallet. They grew huge! They overflowed out of the container and all I used was normal potting soil and kept it moist.

Anyways – all of these plants needed transplanting with some fertilizer onto the newly fenced area I had made for them. I thought I should inform you of how I did it because now they are growing lots of tomatoes 3 weeks later!

Here is how I transplanted my tomatoes this year and I will keep adding pictures through out the season so we can all see the progress of their growing! Planted April 6, 2014.

First, I let the garden go a little bit…. oops. I had to weed the part I wanted to put the tomatoes in.

Before - a weed bed!
Before – a weed bed!

 

After - a nice clean bed for planting.
After – a nice clean bed for planting.

This tool is great for weeding – it goes below the roots and plucks them out.

My most favorite tool! The weederrrrrr.

After all that weeding and sweating… I gathered my materials. I love recycling materials so I used my old milk jugs from storing soap milk and some rabbit pellets (tomatoes LOVE rabbit poo). I also used a sharp knife. You will see why in a little bit. I did not clean out my jugs because plants apparently love milk whenever it is diluted and poured in the garden. Thought I might give the transplants some treats.

Old Milk Jugs
Old Milk Jugs
Fertilizer
Fertilizer

I have heard a lot of good things about the ancient practice of using pottery under ground to wick water off into the soil when it becomes dry. In the summer months tomatoes need tons of water and they don’t always get it whenever they get their normal watering. I had the idea to make my own wicking system for each plant to get extra water using the milk jugs. It is fairly simple – just make sure that you are careful!

So I took my sharp little pairing knife…

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And poked tons of holes in the jugs exept for the top and bottom.

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Then I dug a hole big enough to put the plant in with extra fertilizer – tomatoes like being planted to where some of the stem is covered so that they can get adequate stabilization. I put the rabbit fertilizer straight into the hole.

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I put the plant in the hole and then packed the soil in around the plant. They like being snug.

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I then proceeded to plant all the rest the same way- making sure that there was enough room inbetween the plants – they get pretty big whenever they are full grown fertilized bushes.

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I dug down after right by the plant to where the jug could fit in but the jug opening and about 2″ was sticking out. That way the water could be inserted without foreign material getting in and blocking the waterway to the plant.

The end result looked like this:

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And that is how I planted my tomato plants. Updates will come soon on how they have done! Date of planting: April 6 ,2014.

 

Update: August 18, 2014
The tomato plants are pretty huge and are producing tons of tomatoes! Next year I need to find something to control pests from biting the fruit – making it all splotchy looking and hard.

The purple heirloom tomatoes did not make it through. They only lasted about 4 weeks and died off. Cause of death: Unknown.
Overall – got plenty of tomatoes around August/September before the first frost. Need to transplant a lot earlier! Will have a greenhouse in 2015 so we shall see how it will go! Super excited for the next growing season.

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How to Milk Mini Goats

Many people are asking about this so I thought I should share. I have learned a lot from online, books, and my family that has been milking cows most of their lives. Milking is in our family, so it seems to come natural to me and I very much enjoy it.

The rewards are endless – milk for me, for making soap to sell, for my chicks/chickens, and all sorts of cheeses, ice cream, and lovelies for us to eat. (I will put recipes and tips on creating these lovely things in later posts).

Chocolate goat milk ice cream is our favorite.
Chocolate goat milk ice cream is our favorite.
Good 'ol farmer's market cheese.
Good ‘ol farmer’s market cheese.
You could make soap from the milk
Soap!

A few things to say before I start explaining – it is a commitment. You have to milk every day at around the same time or else your goats will dry up (unless they have babies still suckling on them). Some days can be hard, but don’t give up! The benefits can be rewarding!

I am milking one Pygmy goat and four Nigerian Dwarf goats, so this is for the more mini breeds of goats – I’m sure that what you will need for minis could be upsized for whatever breed. I milk only once a day. Some breeds would have to be milked twice. Make sure that it is close to 12 hours apart when the milkings are if milking twice (i.e. 9am and 9pm). It is usually on how much your does produce.

Below are the supplies and how to milk for any goat:

Supplies:

  1. A Milking Table

    • I made my milking table with 2×4’s, some hardware cloth, some paint, and an old piece of pipe that was in a V shape to put their heads through. I built it into a square with hardware cloth over the top so the could stand. From that, I fastened the V so it would hold their heads and made a holder for their food bucket. They can eat while being milked, but their heads are stuck in the V incase they decide otherwise.

    • Here is the milking table with chair and trash bucket.
      Here is the milking table with chair and trash bucket.

      The head holder on the milking table with buket holder helps restrain and keep her busy eating. Also known as "the V".
      The head holder on the milking table with buket holder helps restrain and keep her busy eating. Also known as “the V”.
  2. A Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl and a Small Stainless Steel Pot with Lid

    • Stainless steel is a good holder for milk because it doesn’t transfer or hold the tastes from the metal – unlike plastic or aluminum. It is also easy to clean. The mixing  bowl will be used for catching the milk and the pot for an udder wash.

    • A stainless steel bowl helps the milk stay tasting fresh. Plastics or aluminum make it taste off.
      A stainless steel bowl helps the milk stay tasting fresh. Plastics or aluminum make it taste off.
  3. A Black Cup

    • A black cup is very useful in milking because when inside the cup, milk can stand out when inspecting your milk quality. I use a black guacamole bowl – it works perfectly.

  4. Roll of Paper Towels and a Teat Dip or Spray

    • Paper towels are a must and it’s okay to get the off-brand, but not the really cheap one ply ones that fall apart. Teat dip is also necessary unless they still have kids suckling on them to prevent infection of the teat/udder. You can get this at a dairy supply or feed store. You could also use an appropriate iodine spray that is for cleaning, but NOT wounds.

  5. Milker or Hands

    • There are a lot of milkers out there – I did some research and use a hand operated one that uses pressure. It sucks the milk right out! And for a less expensive option than buying ones for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

  6. Clippers

    • I usually use clippers and clip the hair inside the back legs, on the front of the back legs, and all around the udder area plus some every few weeks. It’s easier to handle and keeps the hair away from the milk. I use some pet clippers and olive oil as lubricant for the clippers so that if it gets on the does, it won’t effect the milk. The clipping part can be optional, but it is a wise suggestion. I usually do this before any milking occurs because it can be a long process.

  7. Large Pot with Lid

    • This pot will be used to keep ice water in for the cooling part of the milking process which will be discussed later.

  8. Mason Jars or Milk Jugs

    • Jars will be used to keep the milk in during milking and/or after milking and jugs just for after milking.

  9. Milk Sieve Paper and Stainless Steel Funnel

    • This is for sieving out the milk after it has cooled and is ready to transfer into jars or jugs for consumption.

  10. Bleach, Dish Washing Soap, and Clean Dish Rag

    • For the clean up after.

 

Process:

First, I fill up the small stainless steel pot 1/4 full with water. I use only water because soap and other washes will chap the udder, making it unpleasant to milk and unpleasant for the doe. I also fill up the large pot with all the ice from my ice compartment and fill it to about half – to where there is equal ice to water to make sure it doesn’t melt fast. I put the hand milker, stainless steel bowl, black cup, paper towels, some mason jars, and the teat dip in my basket and go out to the barn.

Here are the ice bath and the water udder cleaning bucket
Here are the ice bath and the water udder cleaning bucket
Here are the materials I use for every milking
Here are the materials I use for every milking

I then get a doe on the milking table (usually they willingly run as fast as they can and jump on the table themselves from the pen) and secure her in the V on the stand via her collar.

Milking Table

I give her the food in the bucket and she starts feeding. I secure their feet down with two dog leashes attached to the feet so she can’t kick the bucket over or try to move around.

These are the leg hobbles made from leashes to keep the goats from kicking.
These are the leg hobbles made from leashes to keep the goats from kicking.

I then take a paper towel and dip it in the stainless steel pot of water and wash her udder. I also like to clean the inside of the legs that the udder touches so that all is clean and sanitary. Sometimes it is still dirty so I take another paper towel and wash again. DO NOT reuse the paper towels because there can be bacteria and bad germs. Once you use one, throw it away and use another. Then, take another dry paper towel and dry off the udder.

 

Cleaning Udders

A good wipe down helps keep things sanitary during milking.
A good wipe down helps keep things sanitary during milking.

 

Next, take the black cup and put two squirts of milk from one teat in there. These first squirts gets out the bacteria and allows you to inspect the milk. If it has white clumps or blood, then you should not drink the milk. I would suggest milking the doe separate by hand and last so you do not contaminate. This would be a sick doe and should be taken to the vet because she may have Mastitis or another ailment. Otherwise, the milk is good to go on that side. Pour it out and do the same on the other teat.

A black cup for squirting the first milk is vital to check for infection.
A black cup for squirting the first milk is vital to check for infection.

If both are fine, then take your milker and start milking! You could also milk by hand into the stainless steel milking bowl. My hand milker milks up until the last bit which I have to milk by hand into the bowl. Usually massaging the udder will help her let down the remaining milk from her udder. If the doe puts her foot in the bowl of milk, you have to pour out the bowl and clean the bowl. Same with if you forget to squirt out the first bacteria. That milk would have to be thrown out and milker cleaned unless you were using the milk for something other than consumption. My cat or chickens usually get a treat when these things happen in the barn. Squirt or dip the teats with the teat wash.

Pour milk into the mason jars and secure with a lid. Put into the ice water bath in the large pot. Continue on the same steps with the rest of the does until all are milked. Make sure that the milk is still ice cold and put into the refrigerator after milking. Take hot water, bleach, and a clean wash rag and clean all the supplies. Using a clean wash rag every cleaning helps prevent contamination of germs to the equipment.

Glass canning jars are good for storing milk in the fridge.
Glass canning jars are good for storing milk in the fridge.
Sticking the milk in the ice bucket within a few minutes helps keep the milk fresher for longer later in the fridge.
Sticking the milk in the ice bucket within a few minutes helps keep the milk fresher for longer later in the fridge.

Make sure that the container you will use has been cleaned on the inside with hot bleach water (jar or jug) and the top as well. Put the funnel in the mouth of the container with the sieve paper in the funnel and pour the cold milk from the fridge in through the sieve. The sieve catches all of the particles like the missed hair or other things like dirt. Pour until full, date with a permanent marker, and secure the lid. The milk should last from 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. Make sure all supplies are clean for the next day’s milking.

 

One of the greatest benefits is fresh milk!
One of the greatest benefits is fresh milk!

And that is how you milk mini goats! Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posing for the picture
Posing for the picture

 

Morning Glory Muffins

This weekend I was craving some morning glory muffins that my mom made for us growing up. I never have made them myself before and looked online for some recipes that would fill my craving. Most of them had various ingredients in them that did not agree with me, so I took a recipe and tweaked it a bit. The original recipe can be found here: Allrecipes.com

I made the batch into mini muffins and took some to the neighbors and lets just say the whole batch of mini muffins (approximately 56 of them) all got eaten by the neighbors and I in less than 24 hours.

Here’s my “tweaked” recipe:

Ingredients:
2 cups organic all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
2 small organic apples; shredded
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin pan or insert liners into pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the carrot, raisins, zucchini, apple, and pecans.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into the carrot/flour mixture until moistened. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Now for mini muffins, it only took about 15 minutes to bake at the same temperature of 350 degrees. If you are a intermediate baker, you will be able to tell when they are ready by them having all the same color. If they are a different color in the middle than the outside, the muffins aren’t done and need a few more minutes.
Also if making mini muffins, make sure the shredded ingredients are also chopped a bit finer so each muffin receives all the ingredients for a uniform wondrous taste.

Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen mini muffins. So yummy!

Enjoy!

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