Farm(s) Pending

This might well be the new “mini” farm.

Quite the view. Six and three quarters acres (80% less land than the farm), but just enough land to suffice. The house is about 1/3 less square footage to have to keep tidy and maintain. Close to town. Neighbors, but not right on top of you like living in town. Irrigated. These are the pluses.

The downside is; no barn or shop for hay and equipment storage. No small shelters for the little horses. Not a fence on the place. Close to the highway, so the 5 remaining barn cats coming with will have to be contained in some type of little building with a tall, screened in outdoor area, to keep them safe. (Being barn cats, they have always roamed free at the farm, so this will be a tough adjustment for them.)

These all are the realtors pictures. The inside is lovely, but quite small (compared to my folks farmhouse). But, that's all part and parcel of downsizing. It was a lucky break to have been able to JUMP on this place hours after it was listed. My folks tied it up as quickly as was humanly possible. The realtor had multiple, multiple inquiries in the days following the listing of this property. It's going to be a lot of work to get it ready to house all the critters, but that's part of the give and take. The land is pretty much a blank canvas. They are already contacting fencing companies, contractors to build outbuildings, moving companies, etc., just to get on the lists. I mentioned before how crazy wild it is right now with real estate in this area, and all types of companies involved are booked up weeks to months in advance.

So, God willing, it's upward and onward. Real estate dealings are are fragile and fickle; fingers crossed this will go thru without a hitch. I guess now would be the time to start stock piling super potent vitamins and coffee….the whole family's going to need them to get this show on the road!!

I'll take a minute now for some more sappy and sentimental sharing of farm pics. The gardens are so beautiful right now, due to my good little Mom's relentless efforts.







Little Clover, the tamest barn kitty.





















Farmward – Ho!

The saga with my folk's farm continues. It looks like this time the sale might be the real deal – possibly. It's been a long drawn out process, drug out since last fall. A couple with 4 little kids want to buy it “for sure”……..contingent upon them selling at least one of three properties they own. And then comes all the hoop jumping and red tape with appraisals, inspections of every sort, what is included in the sale, etc., etc. At least these people don't expect my folks to include furniture, pictures, garden decorations, clothes, shoes, and the family bible in the sale, like the last yahoos did. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much!) This potential buyer did want them to throw in the backhoe with the sale, which may, or may not, be considered. Depends on what sort of place my folks can find to move to. If they have to start from scratch with a place with no fences or outbuildings, my Dad will need all his equipment to get the job done. Hopefully a place will come up not needing everything from soup to nuts to get ready, before they can move in. I cannot tell you how absolutely insane the real estate market is in this area right now; very little to be had, and a king's ransom in pricing for what is available. We've all been searching like mad, trying to catch things that come on the market immediately, as homes and land are snapped up, literally, within hours after being listed.

I stopped at the farm on the way back from the cabin the other day. I feel like you can't soak in enough of the place, when you know the chance is great that it will belong to someone else soon.


My Mom brought me upstairs to see this cactus type plant that is in full bloom.


I got to visit all her babies while we were upstairs.



And get an upper view of the gardens from the bedroom balcony.


It will be a big adjustment for the little horses to have only a very few acres to live on. Hopefully it won't bother them too much. They are an elderly lot; the oldest one being about 34 years old, the youngest I think around 22. There are 15 left, and my folks just want to keep them fed and happy til they go to the happy pasture in the sky. Their whole house search is revolving around finding a place where it will work for their old horses, and old barn kitties. Some people call that crazy, I think it's mighty admirable.


From last fall


Hopefully the geese will get to stay on the farm, as many of them are 30+ years old

It's a beautiful place, and I sure hope the new people will love and care for it as much as my folks have. It will be nice for their little kids to grow up there; the perfect setting for playing and memory making.

As stressful as it is, I guess we just have to remember that the good Lord has a plan for us all, and we need to keep the faith and move forward knowing it's in His hands.





R is for Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable, but is most often put to use like a fruit. For most folks, it is a love it or hate it situation – not too much of an in between. I love it's bright, tart goodness, and have quite a collection of recipes so that all that grows at my house is not wasted. It is tricky to cook with, because it holds so much water. I've turned out several pies that were either absolutely water logged, or so tight they were rubbery, by under or over estimating the amount of thickener needed. It's hard to get that just right consistency; glossy and soft – not too runny, not too firm and bouncy.

I've had a bountiful crop so far, due to the cool (cold!), wet conditions rhubarb is partial to.

This is what remained after harvesting about 2/3 of what has popped up so far this Spring. More will come now that it's been thinned a bit. YAY 😉

I seem to have better luck making bars, rather than pies. With the filling not so deep as it is in pies, it tends to thicken more consistently. So, I drug out all the gear, and a “go-to” recipe.

Here is the recipe I used, that is a compilation of several I've tinkered with to make it work for me.

First, the best crust I've ever had. The recipe came out of a little paper back church fund raiser cook book I bought when I was a teenager and kept in my cedar hope chest til I moved out on my own. I've used it until it is rag-tag and falling apart over the years.

3 cups white flour, 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening, 3/4 cup salted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water, 1 egg lightly beaten, 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening and butter. Add ice water 1 T at a time til mixture is crumbly but starts to come together a bit. In a cup, add the vinegar to the egg, mix and pour into flour mixture. Stir and press til a ball forms, adding small sprinkles of flour as you go, so it doesn't stick to the bowl. Place dough ball in a bowl in fridge 15-20 minutes to rest.

Second, measure out 7 cups chopped rhubarb into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups white sugar, 2 rounded Tablespoons tapioca powder (what I used was called tapioca flour; both work, and are probably pretty close to the same thing), 3 rounded Tablespoons white flour, and half of a 3 ounce package of red gelatin (I prefer strawberry, but any red works and looks best.) Add sugar mixture to rhubarb and coat well.

Get your crust dough from the fridge and roll out on a well floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thick. I transferred the whole kit and caboodle to a large, rectangular baking pan, covering the bottom and up the sides. Press lightly into corners and on sides. Cut the excess from what hangs over the sides. Gently pour rhubarb mixture onto crust in pan. I loosened the crust from the sides and folded it over the rhubarb, galette style. It keeps the crust from getting too brown on the sides. Since I try not to waste anything, I rolled the leftover crust into long skinny ropes and placed them on top. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350, and continue baking 30 to 35 minutes longer.

It came out just right; not runny, not rigid or rubbery. The crust was a golden brown. I guess you could drizzle a glaze, but I think it's plenty sweet without.

We gobbled it up 🙂

Tomorrow I'll make rhubarb freezer jam. I love being on vacation!