Tuesday, October 2, 2018

~The Sunflower Path~

~The Sunflower Path~

That's what she calls it... the sunflower path. She was speechless this morning... caught in the beauty of the raindrops on petals and the misty pathway, an archway created by drooping sunflower heads laden with God's cleansing rain.



It's in these moments that seem so ordinary and commonplace... a part of our morning routine..to walk this path to see our goat...that these moments gently transform into extraordinary moments.
I am fully aware of the weight God has placed on us as parents, and sharing God's word, truth, and love with our children. Making the most of each moment. But somehow, in these years of training, I'm finding these sweet little ones that God has entrusted in our care, have rendered me speechless with all they are teaching me of just who God is. How I almost missed this beautiful moment this morning...


Child of wonder.... if we only stopped in pure wonderment and awe of God's amazing creation He blessed us with....

Blessings,
Jamie 

Monday, October 1, 2018

From My Country Farm House Kitchen~ Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting~



Autumn has arrived and it is glorious! I have been busy in my little country farm house kitchen, baking, cooking, and preserving. 

Today I wanted to share a recipe my family really enjoys. I found it in an older copy of Country Woman Magazine that I adapted to fit my family's needs. :-) I have included the original recipe along with my version.

Pumpkin Bars with Browned Butter Frosting
Country Woman Magazine 
October/November 2013
Mary Wilhelm

Original Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin 
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. grated orange peel
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Frosting:
2/3 cup butter, cubed
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 to 6 TBSP. 2% milk 

My Version:
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
2 cups Bob's Red Mill  Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cloves 
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Frosting (My Version):
2-3 TBSP. butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
unsweetened coconut milk~ I added a bit at a time until I reached the consistency of frosting I wanted.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15x10xl-in baking pan. *** I made mine in a 9x13 glass baking dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.*** In a large bowl, beat the first six ingredients until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. 

Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. ***My version took about 30 minutes using the 9x13 glass baking dish.*** Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Heat 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Transfer to a large bowl. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over bars; let stand until set. 

Yield (using orginal recipe) 2 dozen.

* I put our frosting in a jar, that way each person can add as little or as much as they'd like.* :-) 



I would love to hear some of your favorite fall recipes! 

Blessings,
Jamie 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

From the farmhouse kitchen~Pumpkin Cheese Coffee Cake

 From the farmhouse kitchen:
Pumpkin Cheese Coffee Cake


Winter is in full force here on the homestead and that calls for nourishing, warming foods. This coffee cake is delicous with a nice cup of tea. Temps will be subzero again this evening, and this cake will be a nice treat this evening with the family. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

I found this recipe a few years ago online by Taste of Home. It's a keeper! Below is the recipe, with the substitutions I make in parenthesis. I omit the pecans to meet my family's dietary needs.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do! 



Pumpkin Cheese Coffee Cake
By: Taste of Home 

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar ( I use coconut sugar)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I use olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar (I used organic cane juice crystals) 

Topping:
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans ( I omit)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar ( I used coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

~In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; add to egg mixture and mix well. Pour into a grease 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

~In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, egg, and sugar until smooth. Drop tablespoonfuls over batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl. 

~ Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 12-15 servings. 

Blessings,
Jamie
 
 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday~Hope

~Tea Time Tuesday~




Hope~

It is so easy to lose hope in today's fallen world. There are so many struggles and stresses. So many of us are facing difficult  decisions and situations. It may seem that God has forgotten you, but He hasn't!



              Hope is strength. 


"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31






Hope is what helps you to withstand the storms of life.


"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15-13



"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9




 
  Life brings us many seasons. We must have hope and trust in God in all things, praising Him through trials and triumphs. 


I have found that by remembering the times in my life I have seen the hand of God, and storing these in my heart, it helps me to face the trials and storms in my life. God will not always answer my prayers the way I want Him to, but I know He who formed me, knows what is best for my life. 





 "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19

 Lord Jesus, help me to have hope as I wait patiently for You.



 "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." 
Psalm 31:24


"Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone." 
Psalm 33:22 

In His Love,
Jamie

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Time Tips For Poultry

I'm going to share some things we do to prepare and maintain a happy, cozy environment for our poultry during winter.

***Disclaimer***
*These tips are not professional advice, but gleaned knowledge of a country girl.*

Winter Time Poultry Tips!

*Housing

A long time ago, hubby custom built our poultry houses. They are up off the ground which helps with the warmth. 

During the warmer months, and when there is no snow, our poultry free range the acreage. During the snowy months, they have a pen that provides them room to graze if they want to venture out, yet protect them from hungry predators.

Their runs are made up of 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth. We specifically chose 1/4 inch, in that it protects the poultry from weasels and fisher cats. Weasels and fisher cats are ruthless and brazen, and all they need is at least a 1/2 inch space to easily squeeze themselves into. 

All our poultry housing doors have locks that are difficult for racoons to get into, as they are quite the clever predator. We ALWAYS lock up our poultry at night. 

Our guinea fowl do not get locked up at night at this time, as they do not find this to their liking. They have a coop they can go into if they choose to. Currently, they roost themselves up high somewhere on the property. 

Make sure your coop has enough ventilation.  Moisture that builds up in a damp, cold coop can lead to frostbite. A little petroleum jelly on their combs and wattles in freezing weather will help with this. The larger the combs and wattles, the more prone they are to frostbite.

Lastly, make sure to provide a dry place for your chickens to roam. Cold, wet ground makes for painful, freezing feet.
 

*To Heat or Not To Heat*

We opt not  to use a heating lamp, as the temperature change could affect the poultry as they go in and out of their houses. Chickens do not do well with a sudden change of temperature, so we allow nature to take it's course. The fall weather is a great way for chickens/ducks to acclimate to the change in temperature.

Another concern with any type of lighting is fire. Hay, wood chips, straw bedding, can easily catch fire. Bored chickens can also tamper with the lighting. 

We say, better safe than sorry. 

Roosters are also great in the winter as they sit on the hens and help keep them warm. They are also great at protecting the hens from predators. We love our roo!

Provide plenty of fresh, dry hay or bedding to help keep them warm. Remember, your birds will huddle together and emit body heat. I've read that chickens create a decent amount of heat on their own, about 10 watts of heat per chicken.


*Feed* 

We already feed our poultry a non medicated layer crumble, and we supplement with cracked corn at the evening feeding.
Cracked corn does not contain the complete nutrition your flock needs, and should only be used as a supplement. As your chickens digest the corn, it generates body heat.

*Water*

Fresh, unfrozen water is important. Some people use electric water bowls. If this is not an option for you, fill their water container with warm water and check often. 

Remember, ducks need enough water to rinse their nose and eyes, but shallow enough to climb out of. If there is food, they must have access to water so that they do not choke.

*Eggs*

Collect your eggs often! Frozen eggs are composed of nearly 75 percent water, so they'll freeze and can crack easily when  exposed to the freezing air.

***These are just some things I've learned while keeping poultry the past few years.  You know your flock better than others and what works for me might not work for you.  

Remember to keep watch for signs of illness, too.  

I am always learning and would love for you to share any advice you have, as well! 

I pray you are all staying warm! 

Blessings,
Jamie

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday~When Love Walks In

 * I had written this post some time back, during a time of trial. I  stumbled upon it and found comfort in the reminder of God's faithfulness and love. Always there. 
As we face Christmas this year, it is a much needed reminder. For our sweet son will be spending Christmas with Jesus....I cannot even imagine the joy our boy will have in Heaven! While I am comforted he is with our Heavenly Father, my heart aches for him to be here.  
I pray this Tea Time Tuesday ministers to your hearts, friends. 


Tea Time Tuesday~

There are times in one's life, where daylight seems to not touch us, with it's rays of warmth and sunshine....


Trials and circumstances in our lives can make one feel that God has turned His face from us....

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." 
Psalm 4:1



As we persevere through the trial, we may question God's presence. We question Him about why this situation is being allowed to happen. We cry out to Him, asking Him to remember us and to rescue us. 

And still the trial continues. 

We wait.

For God to move. To change circumstances. 

To come flying in for the rescue, we are so desperately praying for.



"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14


 
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3



 And as you feel you are endlessly waiting ... for a change, for something, anything.....

In walks love....

Not in a prince charming, knight in shining armor, hero with a cape rescue kind of way.....

No.

It comes softly, quietly, in the wings....





And you realize, love, His love, was there all along....



 For His presence was not far....if only I had lifted my face and opened my eyes, I would have seen His face in front of me.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." 
Psalm 121:1-2



For love came in the anonymous generosity of a cheerful giver...

It came softly in the laying of hands...

Love whispered hushed prayers in a stolen moment at church...

Love was there in the singing voices of mother and daughter...

Love was in a child's prayer....

Love reached out in clasped hands of friends, walking to the foot of the cross....



For His face was never turned, and His love never far. It was there all along, right in front of me....


  
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

In His Love,
Jamie


 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Supper on the homestead~Country Potato Soup

Winter is here on the homestead. It seemed as if we got off to a slow start with autumn, and then in came Ol' Man Winter...bringing snow, ice, and some bitter cold nights. I don't know about you all, but when autumn and winter come around...I'm already thinking about comfort foods. Cozy casseroles, warm quick breads, overnight oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup, and hearty soups and stews. 

I make everything mostly from scratch here on the farm. I love providing nourishing and filling meals to my family.  We work hard and there's nothing better than providing wholesome, unprocessed foods for my family. I'm not perfect, and even this farmgirl wife and mama gets tired and will once in a while *gasp* purchase store.bought.bread. Yes. Sometimes, I just do.  For the most part, though, I grow and harvest food from our gardens, tap our trees for syrup, and put up many jars of healthy food. :)

When the nights start to get cold, this soup recipe I'm going to share really warms us up. It is SO delicious. I will share the original recipe and also the version I make for my family. I've had to modify it to meet the dietary needs for my family. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do! I serve this with a nice batch of homemade cornbread.  

I found this recipe in a book I purchased from a library book sale.  :) Pretty much all the recipes we've tried from this book are AMAZING. This is one of our favorite cookbooks. 

Country Potato Soup
from Cooking from Quilt Country
Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens
by Marcia Adams

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
8 slices lean bacon, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups), 2 1/2 cups water, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tp grated nutmeg-rounded, 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram-rounded (optional), 1/4 tsp celery salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 cup milk, 1 TBSP worcestershire sauce, 2 TBSP finely minced fresh parsley

Chop the bacon coarsely. In a deep soup kettle, saute the bacon, celery, and onion over medium heat until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, water, and seasonings; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mash potatoes slightly-about one-quarter of the cubes should still be whole. Remove the bay leaf. Add the milk, worcestershire sauce, and parsley, and bring again to a boil. Serve hot.

I have made this recipe following the directions above and it was delicious. I've had to make adjustments as our dietary needs have changed. I will share how I now make a version of this that we all love. I do not usually measure the ingredients too much, and season to taste, but I'll do my best to give you an approximate amount of what I add.

Our version:

I take 1/2 cup butter and melt in a large soup pot. I then add about 12-15 peeled & cubed potatoes. I add water until potatoes are covered and then add a little bit more. I boil about 30 minutes until tender. Then I add about 1/4 cup dried onion powder, 2 TBSP celery salt, 3 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1/2-1 tsp nutmeg, pepper to taste. I then add in either unsweetened rice or unsweetened coconut milk. I'm going to guess I add about a cup? Then serve with cornbread. You can sprinkle some nutmeg or parsley on top.  If you have leftovers, you can store in the fridge and reheat this for lunch as well.  

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I'd love to hear what your favorite winter supper recipe is! Please share in the comments. 

Blessings from the homestead,
Mountain Mama