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autumn


January 13, 2011
Long term projects

 

People think because I live on a farm and am married to a farmer I must be a great gardener. Hah! I grow rocks and weeds best.And here at Bruce Family farm we grow some huge rocks. So huge in face that with the purchase of the porter we have a problem. It's too wide to go between a certain rock and the rock fence as it goes up the woods road to the woodlot. We can't go around the rock so it looks like the rock must go. 

How does one get rid of such a huge rock? It can't be lifted or pulled out with a tractor or back hoe. Finding someone with a licsense for strong enough dynamite would be expensive and not pleasant for neighbours or livestock. What do you do with a rock as set in its way as this one?

We are going to try using water and time. Danny has decided to drill holes in the rock as deeply as he can, fill them with water, plug them and then wait to see if he can weaken and crack the rock up into smaller pieces. As the water freezes it will expand, the plug hopefully will keep the water inside the rock. The increased volume of the water will have to go somewhere and if the plugs stay in it is the rock that will have to go somewhere else. Perhaps weaken and crack into more manageable pieces.

They started Monday:

rockwBunzieandDanny.jpg

Armed with a rental drill and his brother's drill Danny and Bunzie fell to the rock with gusto. The noise of the generater was great and the vibrations from the drills were greater but they kept at it. When Bunzie had to leave to run errands Danny kept at it.

rockwDanny.jpg

After 2 days of continuous drilling we now have this:

rockwpegs.jpg

Personally I think a few more holes would have been a good ides but I'm not about to volunteer to do anything like work. I'll keep you posted and let you know if it works out.

 Last night was the first major snow of the season. The kids went to bed Tuesday night hoping school would be cancelled. It was not. But by 10 am they were cancelling school and sending the kids home. Lots of people laughed and guffawed at this because there was not a snowflake in the sky. By 12:00 I was anxiously watching the road and waiting for the kids return; the snow was really fallin. When Eben entred the house his first words were "I hopeWes (his bus driver) makes it home okay" The roads were not nice at all. For sure school would be cancelled this morning.

When the radio woke me up this morning it was to say that the Annapolis Countie Schools would so be open today. We all groaned. But what did we have to complain about: Danny had gotten up before 6am and started all the firesss so the house was warm Then he had gone out and, in the dark, plowed the driveway so I could get to work on time.

plowsnow.jpg

Good thing he's wearing a hunter's orange hat or you'd never guess he was on that tractor. Thanks Danny for looking after us so well.

In the meantime I hope the snowstorm was as kind to you as it was to us. Be gentle with one another and I'll see you next week

 

 

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Joanne Wright

Jan-13 7:55pm

I can hardly wait to see what kind of crop of rocks you'll harvest!<br />


January 6, 2011
New Year's...and then Some

 

So New Years is just past but I want you to know we had a party at the Hall and you all missed a great time. We invited everyone we knew who might like to come and so did George, Danny's brother, and his wife Angela. Of course we all showed up with our kids, and some kids even came without their parents.

Eben brought his new stereo system, I brought my CD's (no Eben we are not going to listen to Convoy or the theme to Star Wars all night), lots of board games as Eben was hoping to find someone who would finally play Monopoly with him, but George and Angela broughta 5 GALLON icecream maker with them. This is George's newest icecream maker and he was anxious to try it out. I'm sure it took them all day to make the custard but  by the end of the evening we knew there were some new tricks to master.

Some of us had never made icecream before while others were just good sports:

newyearDougCrank.jpg
I think Doug started the cranking and then I cranked for a little while. The weather was pretty mild so it was nice to crank outdoors. Soon other people joined in:
newyearIcecreamCranking.jpg
 
Erica had never had home made ice cream before and she cranked valiantly. George was getting impatient; it seemed to be taking forever but the icecream didn't seem to be thickening. So he poured boiling water on the ice; he swears up and down this works to make it colder but I don't get it myself. Finally we gave up and looked inside:
newyearicecreamsoup2.jpg
 
It was certainly cold enough but it wasn't icecream. So we made the best of it and got out our bowls and had some:
 
newyearDoug.jpg
 
newyearDanny.jpg
 
Danny certainly enjoyed it.
 
newyearAlex.jpg     newyearEbenBowl.jpg
 
So did the kids. And if they got tired of using spoons...they did ask for seconds.
 
So that was New Years but by Monday Danny was chomping at the bit anxious to get some work done. He cleaned barns and chicken coops, and then he decided we needed to experiement some more with the smokehouse. So he got some hams and bacons we've been meaning to get to out of the freezer and started looking at pickle recipes for pork. By Thursday he could stand it no longer so while he and George tried to figure out what was wrong with the tractor, Bunzie and I made several gallons of sweet pickle.
picklerecipe.jpg   We consulted an 'old' family recipe. When we figured out how much salt we needed Bunzie had to run toBridgetown and to Annapolis to get enough pickling salt.
 
picklebrine.jpg
I found my trusty candy thermometer and we set ou to make 6 gallons of brine. We didn't have a pot big enough but figured if we made it double strength we could dilute it when we were ready to use it. This was a good idea up to a point but we were using so much salt, 4 kilos to 3 gallons of water, that as the mixture cooled the salt started to precipitate out of it quite quickly. we warmed it up again and added the remaining 3 gallons of water and everything was fine. The bacons were in a tub so we added the brine:
 
pickleWBacons.jpg
 
But we needed to know if the brine was strong enough so we had to use the handy dandy hydrometer that my Dad gave Danny to measure the salinity:
pickleHydrometer.jpg
 
The hydrometer floats in the brine and measures the salinity. It was kind of cool to actually use something I remembered learning in high school physics in order to make sure we were doing things right.
 
Once that was done we had to make another 6 gallons of brine, that went much faster the second time. The second tub was started but not before we had a commotion in the driveway!
 
Danny was still trying to get the tractor going when he decided to tow it with the Heston to see if he couldn't get it to start that way. While he was doing that our new (to us ) porter arrived. I looked ouside to see it chasing the tractors up the driveway:
 
PorterChasingTractor.jpg
 
Porter3.jpg
 
The porter is a piece of machinery that Danny hopes to take out in the woods this year. Much of our woodlot is difficult to reach awhich means the wood Danny cuts for us to burn; we use a wood stove and a wood furnace for all out heating, in not always optimum. More about this no doubt in another blog as I'm less than impressed with the wood we have to burn this year and I'm learning more than I ever knew before about the topic.
 
All of this has made for a busy week. The hams and bacons will have to pickle for several days/weeks in the brine before we start up the smoker but now we're one step closer. no doubt next week will bring it's own opportunities to try new things.
 
Be kind to one another.
 
 

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Anne Next Door

Jan-7 7:32am

Busy, busy, busy! I wish you lots of luck with your smoker.

tony

Jan-15 5:04pm

I have a smaller version of the old fashion ice-cream maker.If I remember correctly it needs lots of ice and salt, the entire inner canister needs to be covered and even then it takes around an hour or more of constant turning and the ice needs to be replenished to keep everything covered. It has been a lot more years than I care to admit since it has been used. But I do remember it being a very special treat. Even if it did not turn out as was expected you did make memories. Not nearly as fattening for us older folks either. LOL




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