Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bulldog Youth Wrestling Weekend

We spent nearly the entire weekend at the High School gym with the junior bulldog wrestling team.  On Saturday, our school hosted the weekly Central Pennsylvania Youth Wrestling League match for five of the 19 participating schools.  We started setting up for the match at 7:00 am and were there until the very last match of the day, around 4:00 pm.  On Sunday, we hosted the "Dog Duals" tournament, for 7 junior traveling teams.  With three mats, we had six teams wrestling at one time, while one team had a break.  Official "weigh-ins" started at 7:00 (we cooked breakfast for the wrestlers), the actual tournament started at 9:00 and lasted until 5:00.  The Big Spring Bulldogs got third place.

We also started to jack up the barn beams, in the one section where there was noticeable "sagging".  Right now, we have temporary posts holding that section up, until we can get it to the correct height, and until we know where we will put up walls, then we'll place permanent support posts. 

We also placed our order for another 500 blackberry plants - this time we chose the thornless "Triple Crown" variety.  They are supposed to be shipped the first week in March!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Week of Dinner Menus at the Long Shot Farm

  • Spaghetti with choice of meat sauce or plain sauce (our own canned sauce)
  • grated provolone cheese and Parmesan cheese
  • Texas toast
  • Elderberry Wine
  • Rice pudding and fruit compote (from our frozen strawberries & blackberries and canned cherries with danish dessert sauce for thickening)
  • Meatloaf
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Corn (our own, frozen)
  • Green Bean Casserole (from our canned beans)
  • Concord Wine
  • Raisin (spice) Cake
  • Smoked Pork Chops
  • Red cabbage
  • Mashed Potatoes (from our own potatoes)
  • Asian Pear Wine
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Leek Casserole (cooked leeks wrapped in ham & muenster cheese, covered with an egg/sour cream/milk sauce)
  • Rice
  • Vidal Blanc Wine
  • Potato Bread (from Monday's left-over mashed potatoes) with freshly made strawberry jam (from frozen berries)
  • "Dirty" Rice (ground beef, rice mix with spices, onions, corn, mushrooms) one pot meal
  • Apple Wine
  • Apple Sauce (our own canned)
  • Apple Cookies with Vanilla Icing
  • Stir-fried Marinated Chicken breast bites
  • Sweet Potatoes (our own, canned)
  • Corn (our own, frozen)
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Vidal Blanc Wine
  • Ice Cream (Turkey Hill Steelers)
  • Pizza - it's weekend - yeah!
  • Elderberry Wine

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleaning the Barn (and Skating)

Ever since the Christmas break, we've been working on cleaning out the bottom of the barn.  Not just shoveling out manure remnants, and carting ancient garbage, hardened cement bags, baler twine and rusted fencing materials, but also disassembling the milking stanchions, horse boxes, feeding troughs and various gates.  Over the weekend, we had someone come in with a trailer to haul all the metal away - he had to come back with a second, larger trailer, because he did not expect us to have so much junk - after all, the barn is not that big.  We even found a full sized, rusted shopping cart, not to mention all the rusted feed carts, chains and useless hardware pieces.  We started yet another burning pile for all the rotten boards and feed sacks and added nicely to the compost pile with the old bedding material.

worked around our stainless steel tanks and wine racks
After all the trash was out of the barn, the tearing down of the partitions and reclaiming the lumber (mostly solid oak - just had to get the nails out) was relatively fast.  We now have open space, except of course for the load-bearing posts.  Two thirds of the barn floor is cemented - but not evenly, as there had been a milking set up - so the floor has three levels, like steps.  The last third had been horse boxes, and had about 1 foot of tramped down bedding and straw in them.  That section has to be dug out some, and then cemented - but first we have to lay out where the water and drain pipes have to be positioned before we can even think about cement.

We had some fun the last few weekends skating on the pond.  It got a little more challenging after the ice got covered with snow - we had to shovel a skating area and also a large loop for skating laps (which is a lot more fun in cold weather than running on snow covered fields).  The only challenge was that the ice on the pond is rather bumpy, with holes ever so often, which makes skating a bit more challenging - but still, so much fun :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grape Vine Decorations (continued)

The idea of making swags for the guest room windows - on top of the regular curtains - did not work.  It did look gaudy...and too busy.

But - we took two of the former "swags" and tied them together, wrapped brown wired, clear lights around them, and fastened the whole contraption to the large beam that spans the kitchen.  It looks fine without lights, because it just fits on the beam, nothing hanging down to get in the way.  It still maintained the slight wavy shape and in the winter, and throughout the holidays, it looked amazing with the lights turned on early morning and at night.

The large "swag" we used in the family room above the large window, which does not have curtains (and won't because everyone likes the view of the mountain, and there are no other houses in sight).  At night time though, this window looks rather dark - and by hanging the grapevine "swag" (which is also wrapped with lights) above the window molding, it lights the window and makes the room look more cozy at night.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Mulchpile

Right after New Years, the electric company needed to access the fence row behind our pond to cut back trees for the powerlines. (this was during the early January "warm" spell)   The tree trimmers stopped by the house to ask if they could drive across our fields, and Jeff asked if we could have the chipped wood - they told us we could have all we wanted :)  Within a week we had the start of a nice sized pile of future mulch:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Started the New Year with an unseasonably warm day - absolutely perfect!  Lars and Tina spent all morning cleaning up the underbrush and dead wood from a fallen tree around the fence facing the road.  It took about 4 hours to haul all the vegetative matter to the compost pile and the dead wood to the "burning" pile - but it was worth it!   Should have had a "before and after" photo, but here is the cleaned up view.

We had spent the last day of 2010 by doing some major outside clean-up work as well, burned the brush pile that had accumulated for the last two months, pulled out all the temporary irrigation hoses from the vegetable garden, removed the old brush, rocks and dirt piles around the goat pen and got started cleaning out the bottom of the barn!