Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A year in review....working to make the market

Market to market is how we have spent pretty much our entire year. I work all week to have stuff for the market. During the summer I worked every Wednesday up until the week school started back. That had me baking on Monday and Tuesday for the Wednesday markets and Thursday and Friday for the Saturdays market. I love being outside but instead I was in the kitchen all summer.... which don't get me wrong I love love love to be baking and canning..... I have been cooking since I was seven on my own so 
It just comes naturally. I know you think seven seriously??? Yes I was a latchkey kid and my mother divorced when I was five so she worked all the time. She climbed the ladder to success back in a day when women were not so called bosses or "in charge" of an office. We're talking 1970-1977 ish time frame. I was seven in 1975. Going back to my story so cooking is definitely my thing but boy did I miss being outside all day in that 90 to 100 degree temperature. I would go collect the eggs or get Colten too. I would jams and jellies whenever I had fruits. I would get peaches by the bushels and spend half a day blanching and pealing them to can or for peach preserves. I loved every minute of it. I grew tons of veggies too and I was lucky enough to have Colten to help and boy did he help. I kept telling him he was learning life skills. Probably not what a 13 year old wants to hear.!! When I would plant he would help by digging the holes and or watering.

I grew gourds for fun. Which has always been bunches of fun!!

These are some of my raised beds, I had in early spring. I grew lots of veggies for the market. My veggies are organic no chemicals, no pesticides, just lots of love and care. This is what I call the kitchen garden.

I got a new tractor from John Deere last October for my 28th year wedding anniversary. Which was November eighth. Here I am getting my education to drive such an excellent piece of equipment. I now could go from raised beds to no limits farming.

Here is when we harvested the May peas. Dusty and Colten my two biggest helpers. I plant these every year in February usually Valentine's Day. Well I did this year too and not a good idea as in the past. With all the freezing low temperatures we had this winter they actually froze. At first when they were not coming up I thought okay did the chickens dig them up and eat them? No I dug them up to find they were froze and turned to nothing under the ground. Basically a gooshy mess. So I started over immediately.

I made homemade soap as much as I could as often as I could. I switched to 15lb molds that Bruce made to increase my pouring amounts. Which makes it more difficult to pour now.

Here you can see the 15 lb mold. I was trying to keep up with everything else and  pouring late at night mostly. I pour all the soap in my craft kitchen on the third floor of my house.

Bruce and I tended to the bees. Which I love!!

On a Sunday morning in my pjs tending to the bees and looking for the queen.

Hello!! Beautiful beautiful beautiful bees!

About every couple of days we picked tomatoes for the market and for me to can for the winter. We had a very successful and blessed season.

I canned more than a 100 quart jars for soups and sauces and salsas this winter. Oh yeah and of course tomato pudding which is my husbands favorite!

Here are my pattypan squash and tomatoes at the markets.

On a Friday morning getting ready for the
Market. Here Skylar helped me and Colten pick tomatoes. All tomatoes are organic no pesticides no chemicals just lots of love and care. I use marigolds to keep bugs out of the tomatoes.

I always have fresh eggs at the markets. On average we collect around 130 eggs a day. I use a lot in baking and just for us to eat. My chickens are on pasture free ranged fed a non-gmo feed (which cost way more than conventional feed) I try to stay away from gmos and want what I eat to also be non-gmos. My chicken are beautiful and roam everywhere. You are what you its a good idea to feed your chickens the non-gmo feed.

Chickens everywhere!

We have raised all the chickens from tiny chicks.

Egg collecting.

Of course I have the t-shirt of girls on grass. Get yours HERE the money supports ethical farming

Fruit and fruit galore from figs to apples to peaches to grapes to strawberries. I have literally spent a year in fruits. However I have spent many years but on a small scale. I know for a fact we had over 600lbs of figs this year alone. Gosh I have no idea how many blackberries, blueberries. It's unbelievable!!!

Strawberry picking.

Of course I canned as much as a factory, okay well maybe not as much but it seriously felt like it.
Don't get me wrong I love to can but I honestly have canned so much and like everyday or close to everyday. Here are the figs in Fig preserves. Talk about YUM! 
It has been a very busy year but with lots of rewarding work!! That I have greatly enjoyed. I am so thankful so very very thankful for all who have believed in me and supported me. I am ever so thankful and appreciative of this! 

This has to be one of my biggest sellers my hot pepper jam. Which I have customs who buy 15 jars a month to put on all their goods. It's not just a yummy cream cheese spread but a yumminess for all foods. I usually make about 70 jars a month. Thank goodness I had an amazing year of peppers. I even sold vinegar bottles full of peppers.
Just a few of them. I seriously did a lot of these and my customers love them. I have ones who buy them and pull the peppers out to eat. Wow those are brave souls! 

When time would allow I would paint my hand painted canvas bags for the soaps. Which these are big sellers. It just makes a great gift!!! I enjoy painting them more than you can ever imagine!! I look forward to this and it makes me sooooo overjoyed when customers buy them.

Breads and more breads I will bake around sixty loaves of bread on a Friday along with the pies. Which my pecan pie recipe is HERE you will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the recipe. Thank you for supporting me on my baked goods and telling me the rave reviews on them it just makes me plain happy!

Let me tell you about the John Deere Gator I had the notion that I needed and to my surprise Bruce made it happen. I was hauling everything by hand from feed, to veggies, to straw and I said you know I really could use a gator well he got one. Let me tell I felt lazy at first but when your work is never done on the farm.... One could really use it! It has made duties so much easier from hauling the heavy coolers to and from the fridges. Yes I'm ashamed to say we have six full size refrigerators and six huge freezers. They are not in one place so putting things requires a lot of caring. This gator has been a back saver and a true help for all of us. I am truly thankful for it!!

Here is one of my famous pecan pies you can find the recipe HERE.

Of course when you are making as much jams and jellies as I do you need a lot of supplies and jars are the biggest need of them all! Bruce has made a lot of trips for me to relinquish supplies. Here is when we went to get a truck load of jars. There are 100 cases in the back of my FJ Cruiser.

I made beard oil this year too which is just amazing!!

Some more pics of the garden, this year.

More garden pics oh my makes me want to have fresh squash blossoms...yum!

This one was actually taken today. We love making Chinese stir frys and today we had that for dinner. Cooper helped me pick the Bok Choy we planted in early  September. Look out how beautiful they are. I love this pic of Cooper. It makes me so happy to get them involved and teach them how to grow and raise your own food. Once again I tell them "life skills".

Cooper and I picked the collards look how big and lovely they are. I have a country ham soaking now so the ham hock will be good in the collards. Not for me but I do how to make them for Bruce.

We picked huge amounts of blueberries of course we do every year, but wanted to show you. I also have other post of blueberries you can view HERE.

Cody boxing soap trust me this is not what any of the boys want to do. 

Boxing eggs. That is a huge job in its self. Colten, Bruce and I do this on a daily basis.

I made homemade vanilla this year. I started this back in January so it would be ready for this Christmas. I have only a few left now so if you want one you better get up with me ASAP.

Packing soap up for the market each week. Usually Cody does this but a lot of times I have got to the market and not have the soap I needed so now after he packs I go back and pack what I do need.

I hope you enjoyed a wee bit of a look into this past year of how and what I do to prepare for the market. Being on a farm your work is never done but it makes me happy to know what we are eating and feeding our animals and knowing what we sell is pure goodness! I thank everyone who has supported our farm and knowing that you are getting the BEST we can provide. Truly #Madewithlove!!! Thank you and I am thankful for YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Cyber Hugs,
Dawn Gallop 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Minecraft Birthday Party

This year for Dusty's Birthday Party he requested of course you guessed it...... A Minecraft Party. Which I thought great idea Dusty... I showed him many ideas from Pinterest. He suggested all the ideas to make or do.....however my summer has been extremely busy and completing all those wonderful ideas were way out of my realms. I know I know what?? Are you serious this so called super mom can't get it all!! I can't and now that I am much older and have realized this the parties are much more exciting and fun!! I have done extreme parties and you know what....??? Whether I'm pulling out the balloons and streamers out of the bag five minutes before the party or go all out the kids have just as much fun and no one cares how much you put into the party it's the time you spend with friends and family that count. Most of all that mom is not stressed out!!! This years party was like pulling the balloons and the streamers out of the bag five minutes before the party. I tried to make it simple as a working mom time is very valuable so I couldn't put what I wanted to into the party, but it turned out super!!! The kids had fun, the adults had fun and we had good food too. The cute little stuffed Minecraft toys came from Toys R US.
Happy Birthday Dusty!! Tara bought these awesome goggles for Dusty at Target one night when we're in Florida for Amanda's wedding, which on that note I never even shared the weddings on the blog. Mmmm should that be a post or just leave it as it was shared on all the other socials medias.????? You tell me your thoughts. Maybe some of the ideas could help others in their future plannings. Going back to the goggles.... Tara sent the pic to me and I showed Dusty and in his innocent voice... He says yes Tara buy those for me. Of course who can resist Dusty's innocent voice???? Certainly not Tara or anyone else!!! LOL!!!

I bought the Twizzlers ® from BJ's in a nice size bulk container. Megan came over on Friday to help cut out the paper items. The kids played while we cut. I bought the TNT papers from WGPrintables on Etsy.

We had the party in our outdoor kitchen, I bought and printed the signs from PhorestDesign on etsy. At PhorestDesign they also have the scrapbook Minecraft papers and TNT wraps. It makes it nice to have all these great printables available to help you with parties. They look great too!!

  The tent cards and food labels I purchased from DigiPi on Etsy

  Again the food labels/tents came from DigiPi on Etsy. I bought the Swedish Fish (which are so good) from BJ's in a bulk bag. Of course the kids didn't mind. I really believe that the Swedish Fish are Colten's absolute favorite candy on the planet!! Lol! 

Thank goodness that everyone who came was able to help me with the party, because remember this was pull it out of the bag five minutes before the party kinda party. I have big plans but my time runs shorter than my ideas. One of the moms helped cut the strawberries and the watermelon which was a huge help and I am so thankful for their help!!!! Thank you! 
Again thank goodness most of the printables are instant downloads so you can have them within minutes after purchase.  

Note the straws they came from DimeStoreBuddy on Etsy. I bought the Lemonheads at Walmart in the boxes where the "movie candy" is located.

The cheese came from BJ's in the bulk bags. Bruce had to go buy the colorful toothpicks like twenty minutes before the party was to begin. I bought the invites from PhorestDesign which also is where the banner came from. We also did water bottle label's which I bought from Kitprintables.

Note the banner. Again from PhorestDesign. We found all the party stuff like cups, balloons, tablecloth, plastic wear, napkins, etc. from Party City. We bought black, dark green, and lime green accessories for the party. I Megan and I wrapped Hershey® candy bars with the labels I purchased from InvitesOnDemand on etsy. Since it's so hot here they were in the refrigerator so I didn't get a picture. I bought the Hershey® bars from BJ's too.

Of course I made the cake, which the lady who cuts the boys hair suggested getting one of the edible cake toppers which I did and boy did that make for a fast cake!!Thanks Virginia!!  I used the Wilton 11x15 x2 pan to bake the cake and I had the topper to fit that cake. However allow yourself space since the design reaches to the extreme edge nowhere for the frosting to be. So once I added the pipping on the edge it covered up the y on Dutsy and then once we took the cake out in the heat the pipping was so close to the edge that in the heat it fell off. Oh well! Dusty didn't care he was having too much fun!! The cake still tasted good too! Dusty loved the design of Steve and the Minecraft gang. It really made for a super easy cake! Yay! The design came from CakingImpressions on Etsy.

One little boy had to leave early and I wanted to make sure he left with a piece of cake so that's why the cake is already cut before we sang Dusty Happy Birthday. I make the frosting from scratch too. It is yummy! Look at his sweet smile.... Can you believe he is seven already??? I can't!
Hurry up mom cut my cake!! 

Now the fun begins "PRESENTS" 

He always gets really cool stuff and he enjoys it too, he always wants to wear his birthday shirts he gets!
Reading cards. Pam came too!! Yay! 
Everyone is looking on....

Use those muscles buddy!

Dusty certainly looks happy and surprised about this one, Coop looks like mmmm ok now I jealous! Lol!

The big Minecraft Lego set.

Everyone had fun! We had water balloons. Just good ole fashion fun!!

Pool time!!

We made homemade pizzas in the wood fired pizza oven. Which is always always fun!

There goes Dusty with a water balloon.
There goes Cooper! "SPLASH" 

It was so nice to have Skylar and Crystal here too!
Wonder what she is thinking??? 

Thanks to Tara for also sharing her pics with me as I miss so much getting things and helping others with pizzas, etc. Thank YOU Tara!!! Look at Skybear she is sooooo precious!! 
Our precious newest grandbaby also came to the party Miss Dakota Rose. 

It certainly was a good day!! I was so thankful my friends and family could come. Thank you everyone who came!
Matt was having a blast we did the Stanky leg, balloon tossing. This pic just makes me smile! EVERYONE loves the Stanky Leg! I think I will official call this summer of Stanky Leg! Wink!

Jump! Fun!!!!

When I see this pic it makes me think of the song with Cher if I could walk on water.... Love it!! That song was one the girls and I used to sing in the car together. Memories!

As you can see the Minecraft party was a great time had by all! Thank you for allowing me to share with you and I hope I may inspire someone who's little boy or girl is thinking of a Minecraft party too. Have a wonderful week. Happy 7th Birthday Dusty!! We love you!

Cyber Hugs, 
Dawn Gallop 

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