The counters are covered with piles of cucumbers and my dear husband can’t eat them fast enough so I have to start doing other things with them.  Canning up several jars of sweet pickle relish is always the first thing I do with them, but you can quickly make up too many jars of it.  I have found some great recipes to help use up the abundance of cucumbers including cucumber cream cheese sandwiches and creamed cucumber salad.  I have also found that the chickens love the cucumbers that begin to shrivel a bit if they aren’t eaten in time so not a single one goes to waste around here.

Last year we were blessed to find a good old-fashioned ice cream maker at a yard sale, but haven’t taken the time to use it until this week.  One of our friendly fiddle families shared their homemade blackberry ice cream recipe with us, using fresh milk, and I am here to tell you, it is delicious!  There is nothing like having fresh jersey milk to make yummy things with.  One of my favorite things to do with all of the cream is to make a batch of honey butter for the fresh warm bread.  Nothing beats it!

Lots of activity going on here at the old homestead.  We’ve had to remove a tree that was too close to the house and lots of clean up in regards to that, plus we are deciding where to put another small chicken coop and what that will take.  It isn’t that we are planning to get more chickens, just divide a few that we have for the purity of the variety.  We actually have thinned out some of the flocks to homes where they have become beautiful yard ornaments.  One rooster, that I had taken to the swap meet to sell that didn’t, has grown into the prettiest rooster I have ever seen in my life.  He is a bluish gray with a full copper neck and breast with more copper on the tips of his wings and bluish gray feathers coating his legs and feet.  He is a French Blue-Wheaten Copper Marans rooster and now my absolute favorite.  We hatched him out with several hens and they are almost ready to lay, much to my excitement.  The good Lord has blessed us with more chick orders than we can currently fill and it seems that I have discovered a new specialty niche, doing what I love.

In the world of fiddling, we are looking forward to the Missouri State Fiddle Championship competition this coming weekend.  Trustin Baker, a young man from Birch Tree that is home schooled and who we think is a musical genius, plus just a great young man, has been the Junior Missouri State Fiddle Champion for the past three years and he is the current Junior Grand Master Fiddle Champion of the nation.  Our local fiddler from Olga sure has her work cut out for her going up to the state competition to face him.  Believe me when I tell you that she has worn her bow hairs thin with practicing!  It seems she has to have her bow re-haired almost as often as a NASCAR driver has to get his brakes replaced.

On a different note, the apple trees are fully loaded with apples that are weighing down the branches, some are almost touching the ground they are so heavy.  It is cause to start making a list of what to do with them and finding new recipes!  I can almost smell autumn in the air when I see the heavily loaded branches.  Can’t you almost smell them simmering in the skillet with a touch of cinnamon and sugar ready to spoon over some homemade vanilla ice cream?  The time is near!

Have a blessed week!

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