Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You put your eggs where, and did what to your toast?

Eggs in your what?  How was your toast.  Huh?

Eggs in a Basket, it's what's for Breakfast here on the farm!  At least that's the way we say it here in our home!  I've heard just a FEW other names, lol....like....."Toad in a hole", "Popeye", "Kibbee Egg", "Hen in a nest", "Moon Egg", "Cowboy Egg", "One eyed Jack", "Eggs in a Hole", and of course "Eggs and Toast."  No matter where you are from, or what you call it, this is a delicious meal!  Today it is breakfast, but next week it might be supper!  This is a favorite of my family, but especially with my kids!  Even my "adult" child will take time to grab bite when I fry this up in the 'ol cast iron pan!
To make things easy, I grab all of my ingredients and supplies before getting started!  It's not much, but sure does help once you start the whole process!  And when you're feeding a hungry crew that is crunched for time....it does become a bit of an assembly line.  Having things ready will keep you from pulling out your hair!  
Ingredients: eggs, bread, and butter.  Tools: cutting board, butter knife, biscuit or cookie cutter (a glass works fine too), and you're favorite frying pan.  I have become quite accustomed to my cast iron skillet, and use it for almost everything!  
Any kind of bread will do, texas toast, rye, homade rolls even!  We choose store bought white sandwich bread as it is easy to come by and usually on hand.  I do try and make my own bread, but for this recipe, we choose the "basic sandwich" type of sliced bread!  Grab your butter bell and start slathering on the softened butter!  If you don't use a butter tray of sorts, you can always heat the butter, but as you can see, the consistency of the butter changes, and it doesn't smear on as nice, and fries up in the pan differently. 
Butter bell you say....  If you're not familiar with what that is, it's a great storage container for your butter.  Even better when you make your own!  You fill the basin with cool fresh water daily, and in the "bell" you add your soft, fresh butter.  This will keep your "real" butter softened and fresh!  Just make sure to change that water!  I've been using mine for over a year now, and love it!  Real butter, soft when I need it!  Because we all need a little butter here and there!
*If you don't have a cookie or biscuit cutter, you can use a glass, but I find it easier to spread the butter after, as the bread doesn't release as well from a glass.*  Take your cutter and put your "hole" in your bread.  Set the centers aside for later, trust me you'll want them!
Make sure that you've preheated your frying pan!  When using cast iron, you want to warm your pan before adding any oils or foods.  This helps it to be more like the non-stick pans you might be used to!  Food will stick to your cast iron if you haven't properly seasoned it, or if you try and turn the food before it is ready.
Take your outer edges of the bread and ad them to your pan.  This is how you will "toast" them!  We like our eggs a little runny - "over easy", so I don't add the eggs for a little bit.  If you like a hard egg, be sure to add your cracked eggs right away.  Just fry them like you normally would!
Because we have farm fresh eggs, I always crack mine into a separate bowl first.  I only do this because sometimes we have broody hens, or a lazy son who forgets to gather!  It's actually a good habit to crack your eggs separately even if they come from the store!  
When you're ready, flip them over and "toast" the other side!  After that you "toast" your middles!  The "middles" become the lid to your basket.  I have one child who will trade about anything for extra "lids"!  The "real" butter will give your bread a delightfully delicious buttery crusty goodness!  Of course if you choose to use a spread, margarine, or such, the outcome will still be tasty, we're just SLIGHTLY partial to butter for this recipe! 

And there you have it folks!  "Eggs in a Basket"--The Inquisitive Farmwife style!  Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does, it's been served for many generations!  Tell me, do you like this dish?  Have you made it before?  What does your family call it?  I want to hear from YOU!  Stay in touch, we've got so many adventures to go on, but until then.....I'm off to eat my breakfast before it gets cold!  Can't wait to hear from you all!  

~~~Some of the items I use here at my farm have been added to the sidebars with an Amazon Affiliate link.  At no cost to you, I can receive a small kickback if you choose to purchase items after clicking on the provided links.~~~

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Let's Get it Started....GARDENING that is!

Lets get it started...yeah, lets get it started in here!  Wa hoo hoo, ya who hoo....YEAH!  (Yes, I make up my own words and tend to follow similarities of song lyrics...just go with it!   It's a crazy mom/wife thing!) Let's get started gardening that is!  Here in NE Kansas, it's time to thinking about starting our Spring gardens!  Yes, REALLY it IS!  We've all been receiving catalogs and even seeing seed packets in the stores!  I'm so very excited about the thoughts of warmer days and sunshine!  Spring and Fall are my favorite times of the year!
 But oh boy, when I see all those beautiful seed packets sitting in the store, I know I'm behind the game a bit!  Why you ask?  Well, because of multiple reasons, and I'm here to discuss some prevalent ones to me.   First things first, go look through your supply.  Did you recycle some of your containers from last year?  Do you have extra potting soil or mixes?  Did you save back any of your seeds?  (Later we will learn how to make sure that all of  your seed starting supplies are ready and clean, and touch base on what to do with leftover seeds, potting mix and more!)  It's a good idea to "test" some of your seeds to see what's the viability of what you have!(I'll keep you updated on blog or Facebook post, stay tuned!)  You'll want to know what you have in order to plan for what you need!  That brings us to the next item to think about.  Placing our orders!  You may choose a specific company or individual to order your seeds and supplies from.  Remember: it takes time to get these items in the mail!  Depending on availability, weather, and distance, this can range from days to weeks!  It also greatly depends on what you're wanting to plant!  This can really set your garden schedule for you, so you need to plan ahead!
And that is the biggest reason to be getting myself in the gardening mode!  I don't have any of my garden planned yet!  YIKES!  I like to plant things with varying growing seasons.  I tend to try something new each year, it keeps things fun in the garden!  It's so exciting to see a new plant emerge, and watch how the growing cycle changes as it develops!  One of my more recent items to experiment with was a loofah plant!  I do plan to continue to grow them annually, as they are not only fun to watch, but my girls and I just love them!   I'm hoping to learn to make fresh goat milk soap this year, so we can certainly incorporate the two!  However, the loofah requires a very long growing season that we don't have here in Kansas, so I need to start them quite early!  In years past I've started them in my home, because I don't want to start warming the greenhouse for a at least a few weeks, when I really get into my seed starting mode!  I probably should have already done this, like weeks ago, lol!
I know that the longer I take to start the seeds, the less produce I will receive, but sometimes life gets in the way and you just "roll with the punches" and "be happy for what the good Lord provides!"  Depending on your area, you may not need to start ALL of your seeds, and just grow them directly in the soil of your garden!  (This is another topic we can touch on more later.)
I also like to plan on a fall crop, as the bugs are so viciously hungry in early spring, and some bugs have nearly ended their life cycle by the time the Fall seedling are sprouting!  So, it's true, you really do need to start thinking about your garden now!  After you've taken inventory of what supplies you have, you can draw your future garden out on paper.  Think about how you want to arrange the produce.  Maybe you want to rotate things as to not plant in the same place you did last year.  What will you plant in the spring?  What will you plant in the fall?  This also should have a special rotation!  Do you want to stagger your corn harvest?  Will you try different varieties?  Will you have a separate herb garden?  A gardener never really has an "off" season, as we're always thinking and planning for our next crop!  This is the time to look at your records and evaluate last years experiences.  What things affected your plants?  Was it weather, bugs, soil, or something else?  How can you change that?  What was your placement last year, did you row plant, inter-crop, square-foot gardening, or use the 3 Sisters gardening technique?   Did  you like that, and do you want to incorporate these ideas again?
Have you thought about your "other" gardening supplies?  Do your cages or trellises need repair?   How about your tools?  Are they clean and ready for Spring?  (I have to admit that I sometimes get a bit on the lazy side and leave dirt on the tiller, or forget to put the rake in the shed.)  The winter months are a great time to do some maintenance and repairs to your gardening supplies!  As you look things over, you can decide if you need to replace or add to your collection!  How about your current storage area?  Maybe you want to re-organize and think about how you can be more efficient in storing all of your supplies!
Lastly, I have just a few more bits of advice for you all!  If you're not already involved in a group, look around and see if you have a local gardening club!  They are great resource of knowledge and experience, along with neighbors and farmers!  These are the people who have been working your local ground for years.  They are the ones to advise you on what things do or don't grow in your area.  How you can combat issues with bugs, weeds, and diseases that are native to you.  It's also a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge.  You may have tried something new to somebody else, and how wonderful would it be for you to get to share that with someone!  Go see what advice you can each share and make some friends with like minded people!  Get excited, and start thinking about what you want to see growing in your garden!  I want to hear from all of you....where are you in your garden planning stage?

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

My New Winter Attire!

As my little homestead grows and changes, so do my needs of clothing!  Each season will bring on new types of clothing you find useful on the Farm.  Different tasks on YOUR family's farm will require different type of clothing and other gear!  For example, if you're gardening in the spring, mowing in the summertime, cleaning out the chicken pen in the fall, or daily choring in the deep of winter, you will certainly appreciate the proper attire for each task!

So, because it is currently winter in Kansas, and I am just SO VERY EXCITED to tell you about my new winter attire, I want to share a bit of this glee with all of you!  But first, a little history for you to understand my excitement!  In years past, I would double and triple layer pants, shirts, and coats.  This will work if you're just "checking" on your animals, or if you only have a few to tend to!  Even with 3 layers of sweatpants, it gets cold fairly quickly, and you soon become defenseless against water spills and fencing tears.  This year, with my first kidding season, I took the plunge!  After much research and contemplating, I got myself a new set of insulated overalls and insulated coat from Carhartt!  We do a lot of our purchasing at farm stores, and online.  Amazon has made life much easier for those of us that live several hours from items we need or use!  Prices are great, and with prime, we can get most items quicker than planning a trip to "the city!"
I have also recently invested in new waterproof gloves from Carhartt, a "Swag GS" stocking cap with ponytail access, I am not familiar with this brand but have been very happy with it!  Oh, and I got "Buff" neck gear from Duluth Trading Co.  I never thought that I'd be the wool sock kind of gal, but since trying the Deluth ones, you can't hardly get these things off me!  
My husband and son absolutely love the feel of their clothing, and when a store opened within a few hours of us, my husband was excited to take a road trip and check them out. We even took my parents there so they could see what all the hype was about!  Hubby has ordered online many times, but sometimes its nice to just go to a store!  The last time we were in the store, I convinced the hubby to get me some new lotions to try!  I mean, I have goats, so that was a must!  I've only tried it a few times, but so far I am liking it, and the smell is nice too!  And who doesn't suffer from cracked hands, heels, and elbows in the winter.  And it says "crack"... tee tee hee.  Crack cream... just makes me giggle!  So I got it in lavender AND Lemon!  It was on sale!  Oh I did the "monkey butt" powder too!  Haven't used it yet, so no picture or review at this time....maybe in a summer blog!  (Check out pictures on the right sidebar, with links.)  Life is too short not to laugh at the little things, so go for it, get some crack cream, monkey butt and chicken poop!    Have fun and laugh at yourself, I do!  (Chicken Poop is a chapstick, I haven't ventured out to try it, but a fellow blogger and friend suggests it!)

Oh, You should have seen how dumbfounded I was to find my first pair of waterproof gloves a few years back!  My first attempt to defrost and chisel out a frozen horse tank was quite an experience!  Its amazing how many pairs of wet gloves have remained stuck to fenceposts because they froze hard in the few seconds I chose to grab it to balance myself or pull myself up after falling on ice!  And as much as I love those silly ducks, they still like to try and take baths in the winter, leaving the perfect skating rink for me to dance around on while trying to feed and take care of them!  Yes, I layer the gloves too!  Life is a learning curve, and you'll soon find out that mine gets pretty curvy sometimes, lol!  
There are are many options and brands available for us to choose from, and it's smart to do a little research!  Talk with an experienced homesteader, and find out what they like and don't like, and why!  Once you think you know what you want, just go for it!   Be willing to try new things out for yourself!  I have a few brands that I tend to gravitate to, but have recently found a new company that offers me quality and durability, so keep your eyes open for new advances in the farm life clothing! 

Speaking of keeping your eyes open, how is it that when you need something like your favorite mittens, it's somehow gone missing....oh yes, I have Kids!  No more than I find a cool new piece of headgear or perfectly fitting gloves, they somehow become the property of one of my children!  I do appreciate the help on the chore duty, so off to the store I go to buy myself ANOTHER set!  I just MIGHT happen to find a few extras things when I'm there too!  The Farm store is one of my favorite places to shop, always something new to see or friends to make!  

Everyone has their own opinion of why they choose to have insulated vs not when it comes to your outerwear, but I personally am LOVING having the insulated pants and coat, the gloves are pretty snazzy too!  (Sorry I don't have a picture, ironically, my newest gloves from the farm store are now missing.  Go figure!) But I recently found a headlamp that just might become mine, so I guess we're even now! (Similar one pictured on the right sidebar, with link.)

My non-insulated gear works great for spring or fall when we're out working on equipment or maybe on a day/evening that is cooler temps than what I'm used to, but when it comes to Winter I would highly suggest getting all insulated gear!  If you're out in the barn for very long you will appreciate that warmth!  In this picture I am wearing my "Key" overalls.  My grandpaG wore this brand, and it's like getting a little hug of his memory every time I wear them!  They're great for crawling around under things and not having your belly peek through!  They clean up nicely too!It's great to have pants with a place to carry items for breaking ice or deep pockets to hold treats!  Having proper gear makes a world of difference  when you're out doing chores!  Many of the "winter" options out there have a water resistant type of material on the exterior.  This will keep you safe, and warm!  Don't underestimate how quickly you can become frostbitten!  

Good quality outdoor gear can become expensive, but you have to look at is as an investment.  You need to be able to find something that fits you comfortably and will provide what you need to do your job!  Think about how many pockets you might need, if you plan to carry extra items, do you need a place for a notebook and pen?  It's smart to plan ahead and get what you want, and not regret your purchase.  Spend a little more to get quality and functionality out of your winter wear, it will last you many years if you do!
Im a bigger gal, so finding pants that are long enough is a big deal to me!  And my new overalls fit me "just right!"  Long enough to cover my boots, and not tripping on the pant legs either!  Love when things fit as described!  Yippee!
Besides, if you stay good warm during chore time, you can go out later with the kids and play in the snow!  I mean, are you ever really too old to go sledding?  Especially if you do it in an ATV!  My grandpaG always said that when you work, work hard!  And when you play, you play even harder!  So go out, enjoy your winter, bundle up properly, and have fun no matter what you do!  Have a good one folks, and stay warm!  I'm off to go play in my new winter attire!

Since first publishing this Blog, I have added more information, pictures, and affiliates.  I had inquiries about my favorite brands and decided to share them with you all.  Please make your own decisions after hearing my opinions.  If you do choose to click the link and use Amazon or other affiliates, I will receive a small monetary compensation.  This will help out with the "lost gloves fund" --joking, lol!  Thanks again for all your support and I hope that you enjoy my blog!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Who is "The Inquisitive Farmwife"

Hello and Welcome,

My name is Angela and I am "The Inquisitive Farmwife!"  Let me tell you a little about myself!  I love working beside my husband on our farm.  Nothing like the sounds and smells of Spring Planting or Fall Harvest to put a smile on this girls' face!  Going to the big Farm show is an annual event we look forward to each winter, and it's even better when friends join us!  "Us country folk know how to hang with those "City Slickers"...ha ha ha!  I grew up a farmers daughter, but only when I became a wife did I learn to drive a tractor, run an impact gun, shag tanks, or wash a combine!  It's a hard job some days, but a rewarding one!

My daddy and grandpaG both had cattle and I loved getting to tag along on evening rides to "check the cows," but my husband grew up as a field farmer.  His dad was an amazing man that we miss more than words can describe.  I held off on any sort of livestock until we moved BACK to the family farm in 2009.  You might say my "hobby homestead" of a back yard is continually growing!  It all started with a garden and a "few chickens," lol!  I just love animals and that comes directly from grandmaG!  She was a crazy 
Farmwife just like me!  In her younger years, she drove the grain truck for the boys!  Somehow she ALWAYS had her hair done and lipstick on!  I call her often about my animal woes, she is our matriarch, a strong woman, and respected by all who meet her!

Something about working with the land makes me feel close to my father God Almighty, so it's a very peaceful and happy place for me.  Such beautiful memories flood my mind in my garden or kitchen, it's also a perfect place to make new ones with my children and friends or family members!  My grandmaB never measured anything and it always came out mouthwatering!  And somehow she ALWAYS had a snack ready, no matter the time of day!  She could crochet, knit, sew, but hand quilted every blanket she lovingly made.  I miss the camping trips she and grandpa took me on. 

Mamma and grandpaB taught me about gardening at a very young age, so when I finally had my own piece of land I was lucky enough to have some knowledge and direction!  Mind you, I am a researcher and did my due diligence in reading books and speaking with local folks to get a feel for the localized land, but I was blessed with a great childhood!  My momma finished her masters degree in education while I was young, so education was a BIG part of our life!  Another big part of my life is FAMILY, they are a gift, a treasure, something to never take for granted.  I am VERY close with my extended family, and have GREAT "country neighbors."  I can't imagine living anywhere else!

I love learning a new skill, and then share my knowledge with others, so please join in and ask me questions!  I have recently added a greenhouse, that has been a challenge I cannot master, so feel free to add imput to my stories as well!  I can, bake, quilt, and craft!  Life is a journey, and I'd love if you join me on mine!

The Inquisitive Farmwife
A journey of my life... God, Family and Friends, Animals, Gardening, Sewing and Crafts, and so much more!

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