Farm Photo Tour & Recipe: Zucchini “Pasta” Salad with Tomatoes, Torn Basil and Walnuts

The nutty, fresh flavors of August in this recipe, will knock your socks off! Yesterday I made this light and wonderfully fresh recipe and I cant wait to share it with you! It is the perfect lunch or supper side and it is made with vibrant, fresh garden veggies!

 Muggy warm mornings and hot humid evenings, signal that it is truly the dog days of summer at Fargo Holstein’s Farm here in Wisconsin, making chore times the inevitable shirt covered in sweat, face red from work, twice a day routine. 

The month of August is a busy and rewarding time of year for farmers, and gardeners, but the work is hard and hot. Crops are being harvested and hay mows and silos are being filled, while gardens are at peak production for produce.cows and sunset

August on the Farm:
Did you know that traditionally the farming season began on “Plow day” which was January 1st in England, and it ended on the first day of August also known as “Lammas Day”, or the “Old World Thanksgiving Day”. – I bet you didn’t!

I sure didn’t!

Lammas Day was celebrated with great fervor in the rural communities of this country until Lincoln declared a National Thanksgiving Day in 1863, and with it came the disappearance of Lammas Day from our calendar’s, a tradition our English and Scottish forefathers enthusiastically celebrated.veggiesandbarn

      “Dry August, and warmth doth harvest no harm”
August is also known as the “drought month” in agriculture, a hot dry month of harvests and hopes of rain to help finish out crops. Here on our farm, the pastures are holding out for now, but the cows would rather eat hay out of the feeder, than work that hard walking down to the lower pastures to graze.

barnpainting2018
Yes, that is my husband straddling the ridge of the milk house roof on a ladder. I wont even tell you how he painted the tippy top, peaks of the tall sides! My husband often has a quote he says, something about “Never getting anything done if you don’t take a few risks”…or something like that. All I know is that his “getting things done” gives me grey hairs watching him take those risks!

We started off the month with a big project!

 

Ever since we bought this farm 13 years ago, we have wanted to fix up the old falling apart dairy barn, and finish the restoration project with a fresh coat of beautiful barn red paint and pure white trim to put the icing on the cake, if you will!

image
(Above) This was our barn about a year ago….rusty roof, leaning sides and in desperate need of paint! Not to mention, it was in no way ready to be a working dairy barn yet!

(Below) Now here we are in August, almost a year of dairy-farming later and the BIG RESTORATION PROJECT nearly complete!

10B61B61-E4E9-49CE-A157-66BFCA457F53There’s still a few barn boards that need to be replaced after pulling the barn back onto its foundation, and there’s still some hard to reach trim, that needs a fresh coat of white paint. But we are so happy with how much we’ve been able to fix on this great building!

I finally feel a sense of the project being finished! It’s been a long year full of hard work, and adjusting our life to fit around the dairy-farming, and to have accomplished this big project and visibly see the results, brings me so much joy! Which is silly considering all that we have done this last year! But I guess it kind of completes the look of the farm!

pherbandbarn

Before I share my recipe with you, here are a few more pictures I snapped around our farm to give you a little “tour”.

apples
             Apples turning red, a daily reminder of that next season that is around the corner!                    ” No! No! Autumn go away! I am not ready for you yet!”
barnandtractor
My view from the veggie garden.
Chipand Nasturtiums
We have a new puppy on the farm too! He came from a sweet family in Iowa, and the kids and I had a fun day road tripping over there to get him! We named him Chip! He is a smart, sweet Rat Terrier and he has learned to “sit” “lay down” “beg” come” and “shake” on command already! I just love this glam shot of him!
chickens
The chickens eating a giant over grown zucchini! I don’t know where those monster zucchini’s come from, but all of a sudden there they are!

 

3C21B467-D084-4143-8930-F2A03B8114EA
                                                  Laney wishing she could swing all by herself….                                                    Doesn’t this kind of feel like those horrible slide shows that some of us “might” remember having to sit through at a family gathering?                          Next picture please….
pherbonhill
Our beef calf keeping an eye on the dairy cows.
18A4493D-A1F0-46A3-9CCB-107AA0BD7232
Carter and Shena in the pasture. I call her Barbie! She’s so pretty!

veggies2.jpg

Yesterday I made this light and wonderfully fresh recipe and I cant wait to share it with you! It is the perfect lunch or supper side and it is made with vibrant, fresh garden veggies! If you like anything with pesto in it, this has a hint of that taste in it, but sooooo much more going for it! 

The nutty, fresh flavors of August in this recipe, will knock your socks off! zoodles

Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomatoes, Torn Basil and Walnuts

What you will need:

8 ounces Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts                                            

zoodles2

3 Tablespoons of torn fresh basil leaves
3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
1 Large Zucchini
Step #1. In a medium size bowl, combine sliced tomatoes, sliced garlic, walnuts, torn basil leaves and the olive oil.
Add Sea salt to taste. Let stand while you make the zoodles!
Step #2. Thinly slice or use a zoodle maker, to make your zucchini “pasta”. Toss all ingredients together and serve!

zoodles3                  I hope you liked your “tour” and give this recipe a try! You will love it!

Let me know what you think! And boy it feels good to be blogging again! Thanks for reading! Much more to come soon! More blogs, more pictures, more RECIPES! 

AND the Fall edition of “Your Best Magazine” and something else I can’t tell you about yet!!!!!!! eeeeeeeeekkkkkkk!

love -J

 

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

 

 

Day #4 Easy! 3 minute Dark Chocolate Cherry Fudge.

WHY I DIDN’T GET MY “DAY #4” CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE BLOG POST OUT LAST NIGHT!
-I was busy talking to the police!

DSC_0785“There are angels among us “, is something you hear all the time and especially in this Christmas season. We see it in movies too, the movie industry loves a good “angel on earth” story. Even some of our most beloved Christmas movies like, “It’s a wonderful life” are centered on this theme. You hear stories about people helping strangers, and this or that happened, and maybe it was an angel, never knowing what to believe. 

“As the person who was walking down the highway in the pitch dark approached our driveway last night, I thought I knew who it might be. I open the door to the front porch, to call out and ask if they were alright, but it was not who I thought it was. It was no one I had ever seen before. A stranger.”DSC_0801

WHY I DIDN’T GET MY “DAY #4” CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE BLOG POST OUT LAST NIGHT!
-I was busy talking to the police!
 

I had just started making supper last night, when I looked out the window above my kitchen sink, to see a truck driving unusually slow down the highway, which was generally busy with evening traffic, this time of the day.

I watched for a while and realized he was following slowly behind a person who was walking down the side of the road. The person was stumbling and tripping, while looking back at the truck, as if to imply the person in the truck was the one acting strange by following, not the person drunkenly weaving over the white line into traffic, down the side of the dark, busy highway.DSC_0835

As they approached our place, the person crossed in front of the truck into our driveway, walking  up towards the house!

I thought I knew who it was, so I open the door to the front porch to call out and ask if they were alright.

It was not who I thought it was, and she was a stranger to me.

A disheveled looking women, with tennis shoes, jeans and a long furry coat, no hat on this cold evening, and a crazed look on her face, came over and stood by the steps of the porch, talking as she walked closer. DSC_0873

She said she had just gotten in a fight with her husband, and had jumped out of the car to walk. Her eyes were especially large, as she talked about seeing “….a huge cat! A mountain lion…just back there!”, and she kept looking over her shoulder, and fidgeting while she told her story, much of the details were contradicting.

 I told her my husband had a phone she could use as we walked toward the barn, and she continued to talk more about the “huge cat” that growled at her, just down the road. I brought her down to the barn because Drew was feeding cows still, and I didn’t want her to come in the house with the kids. She had a hard time walking straight, and when I brought her through the milkhouse to go in to the barn, the echoing close noise of the vacuum pump washing the lines, made her almost fall over. DSC_0853

All the while, I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole situation was what it appeared or something more?

Unfortunately in this day and age even when you are helping someone, it is hard to not be skeptical. Her odd behavior suggesting that she was on something, had me on guard and I kept an eye on the house where the kids were, while she attempted to call someone.

She was anxious and nervous and didn’t want to stay in the barn very long, and despite our offers to help, she choose to continue walking towards the “nearest town”, still talking about a mountain lion, but leaving the warmth and the safety of the barn, nonetheless.

 

I walked back up to the house, all the while thinking to myself, “I have been watching too many Hallmark Christmas movies” …..

…..because my mind had gone everywhere from her being an angel, to the scarier versions of it being a distraction, while someone robbed us or worse took one of the kids, to fearing for her safety out in the cold dark night all alone. When it really was just a women, making poor choices and concerning others with her behavior.

 I called the police to see if they could send someone out to look for her and make sure she made it home alright, and awhile later we spent an hour or more talking with an officer, looking through police mug shots, adding to the description I gave dispatch earlier, and trying to help identify the wandering stranger who he was unable to locate, even though he drove the highways in both directions for a long time in search of her.DSC_0855

Today’s challenge:

Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Now was this women an angel? Oh, probably not since she had symptoms of doing drugs! But is she a person in need of help, and care? Yes!

Take care of each other!DSC_0831

Here is a super simple, 3 minute fudge recipe I have to give to you today, with just a handful of ingredients and no candy thermometers involved it’s so easy, anyone can do it!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Fudge

 

DSC_0763
Moist, and full of dark chocolate and  tart cherry flavor, this recipe will not disappoint!

 

1 bag Dark Chocolate Chips

1 bags Milk Chocolate Chips

1 can Sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 cup roughly chopped dried cherries

Grease two  8×8  or one 9×11 pan, set aside. and if you like cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. 

In a medium sauce pan, melt chocolate chips  stirring constantly, add vanilla once the chocolate is melted and stir in the sweetened condensed milk. The fudge will thicken as you stir, try to remove any lumps and lastly add in the dried cherries. Pour into pan, cover almost completely with plastic wrap, leaving a small corner open to let heat out. Cool completely for several hours before cutting. ENJOY!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!

-JDSC_0753

Day #3: I HATE IT! I HATE IT!

I am sure I had a look of amusement and wonder  on my face, though she wouldn’t have notice the way she was barreling through the busy isles, grabbing groceries and turning her frown on anyone who would glance her way as she kept grumbling to herself as she shopped.

“I hate it…I hate it…I hate it!” A very stressed women, who was pushing a cart in the store past me, repeated this out loud to herself last night in Wal-mart and continued down the aisle mumbling under her breath.

DSC_9053Hate what? The busy store? Christmas shopping? I felt bad for her, and I noticed the general stress on people’s faces. They were all trying their best to grab everything they needed quickly, trying not to forget anything, all the while trying to hurry up and get home away from the hustle and bustle of the store. The totally obnoxious “Christmas” music that was playing wasn’t helping things, and its no wonder people, including myself, love shopping on line!DSC_0044I stopped in the clothing aisle to talk with a women who works there, and who I know from church. She was trying to keep up with all the racks and stacks of clothes, that people were messing up as they looked for things. She talked for a while about Christmas, and how much she loves it and how much the season means to her, and I was struck by the contrast in these two women.

The one pushing the cart saying loudly, “I hate it, I hate it”, and the sweet diligent older women working more hours during this busy season, and still loving it so much. She was full of joy, even after being told recently by her doctor, that she needs knee surgery! Now I don’t know the other women’s story, or what she was hating so much about shopping last night, but I do know that she was NOT joyous and at least at that moment, not enjoying the Christmas season!C.Silya.12

Today’s challenge for myself, and for this week before Christmas, is to be JOYOUS and to bring joy to others around me!

Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

C.Silya.9Joyous: full of happiness and joy: cheerful · happy · jolly · merry · sunny ·

Who’s with me?

Here is another great Christmas song, played by some of my fav’s, The Piano Guys! They do a surprise concert and reaction is GREAT! Isn’t it a wonder how someone else’s smile and happiness, brings you so much joy and makes you smile too!

Watch it and then make sure to bring some joy to others today!

-J

 

Chasing Dreams: Triumph & Trial. Pumpkin Maple Pecan Pie

What is YOUR dream? Do you have something that is always at the back of your mind, nagging you, calling your name, saying “You could do this, it could work!” That fire that won’t go out? What is that? What is your idea? What is your talent? 

 

IMG_8263“A SMOOTH SEA, NEVER MADE A SKILLED SAILOR.” -FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

IMG_8255

The gentle moon casts its final beams of light, and bids farewell once again to the indigo landscape of nighttime, until late day, when he will rise up yet once more over the trees, and gleam obligingly above the barn in time for us to start evening chores, a daily routine for us both.  The busy road our farm sits near, is quiet for now,  until the stars start to dim from sight, one by one, and people begin to make their way to school and work.

Another unseasonably warm day for late November, has been forecast by the weatherman for today. The red numbers on the alarm clock read, five in the morning, and again it is time to do chores.

Balancing the big thermos of hot coffee for my husband and the baby monitor in one arm, I sip on my sloshing cup of java while I walk the short distance down to our barn from our farmhouse. My boots scuff the gravel as I sleepily trudge  down the turnaround that runs down to just outside the milk house for the milk-truck.IMG_8258

Drew has been awake for at least half and hour already, and is well into morning chores. The shhhhhh….shoooooo…..shhhhhh…. shoooooo….of the milkers on the cows, just barely audible from outside the barn over the blaring noise of the vacuum pump that sits outside the milk house. The sound of a neighboring farm starting chores a few ridges over, rolls over the landscape to my ears as their noisy pump turns on abruptly, the high-pitched echo slowing to a constant hummmmmm as I reach for the latch on the milk house door.

Into the little room just off of the barn, the humid, clean smell of the milk house welcomes me. Anyone who has dairy farmed or worked on one, knows that wonderful inviting aroma that a milk house has.

I push open the door into the warmth of the barn, and I am met with the sweet smell of hay and cows, and the gentle looks from the long row of big black and white Holstein’s, that stretches the length of the barn. As the cows look at me from their stalls, with their kind, brown eyes, I hurry about helping where I can, pushing up feed, cleaning up after the animals and throwing down hay and filling water tanks, while Drew does the brunt of the work. All the while keeping an ear out for the baby’s cry through the monitor and watching the clock, so I can get the kids awake and on the bus in time. 

Then with the kids off to school and Drew gone to work, I rock the baby to  sleep for her morning nap, cherishing these sweet peaceful moments with our dear little one.

As soon as she is asleep, its time for me to let the cows out, clean the barn, put down fresh bedding and their corn silage and hay  and then let the cows back in. The sun is high in the sky, its is noon by the time I am done and walking that same path back up to our yellow farmhouse, weary from the work, extremely frustrated with those two cows who wouldn’t listen to me and who refused to go into their stalls, but happy that it’s all done and that the cows are resting comfortably.

IMG_8269

Stop dreaming! Take a leap!

We leaped, my husband and I,  and there has been much triumph among the trials! We had this long talk about a year ago, on what will we regret not trying to do? What are those dreams of ours that are in our hearts? Why are they there? His dream has always been having his own dairy farm and one of my many, was photography.

What is YOUR dream? Do you have something that is always at the back of your mind, nagging you, calling your name, saying “You could do this, it could work!” That fire that won’t go out? What is that? What is your idea? What is your talent? 

 

 

 

Just like so many things in life there are two sides to living your dream and reaching for those goals. The one side has its joys and accomplishments. Its triumph! And then the other side has its  struggles and trials, constantly testing you, polishing you. The reality is, that reaching for your dream whatever it may be, is not going to be easy. There will be highs and lows through the journey. But when you look back at your life when you are old, will you regret that you tried? Of course not! You would regret NOT trying.

So I encourage you to reach for those goals you have my friends, and help others to reach for theirs! Remembering that it is better to die with memories, than with dreams.

IMG_8319
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has helped support my dreams and most recently ordered one of the Christmas YOUR BEST magazines that I am featured in and which has one of my photographs on the cover! You are all so sweet and I have 80 magazines to deliver to my local friends!  -THANK YOU

 christmasmag2017http://kathyweckwerth.com/store/  Click this link to the Best Life Ministry store, if you would like to order one today for $6.00 plus shipping and handling, or if you are local, let me know and I can order you one. Kathy Weckwerth also has some wonderful books you should check out, they would make beautiful Christmas presents!

 Now for this wonderful recipe! I made it for Thanksgiving this weekend, and I really liked it. There is a pecan maple toffee crunch thing going on, on top the creamy pumpkin and it is sumptuous!

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Pie RecipeIMG_8263


  • 1 Pastry Pie crust.
  • rolled out, then line a 9 inch pie tin with the crust, flute edges and then poke holes in the crust with a fork to help it rise evenly.

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 15 ounce can pumpkin 

1/4 cup half and half/ or milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon  all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon and nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

  • In a large bowl stir together all above ingredients, until well combined. Pour in to pie shell and bake at 375* for 25 minutes, watch the edges of your pie crust, adding tinfoil around the edges to cover them if they start to get too done.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup pecans

2 tablespoons butter melted

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • After the pumpkin pie has baked for 25 minutes, pour the nut mixture over the top and then continue baking for  another 20 minutes, until pie bubbly and golden. Cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream on top.a.pieslice.JPG

 

The hardest part of adjusting to this new life for me, has been managing everything that I used to get done in the mornings before, like laundry and dishes and EVERYTHING! I see the joy in Drew as he lives out his dream and that drives my ambition to help make this possible, but it’s not always easy.

Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend!

-J

 

 

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

BIG NEWS! Buying a herd & The blog in print!

OUR BIG NEWS! Each fall we have projects that are at the top of our list that we want to get done before the weather turns cold, and the frost and snow comes. This year we have more on that list than ever before as we prepare to start………

 

rooster1“Come on out girls, time for breakfast! Here chick…chick…..chick” We have some BIG NEWS! It has been all about chickens and cows over at our farm the last few weeks and I will tell you why!

fallchickenspumpkinFall is officially here and it is starting to look like it in the barnyard. Pumpkins and squash are being harvested and the gardens are tapering down now.muddy piggyThe preparations for the winter season; like bringing fire wood into the basement, finishing up canning projects and clearing up gardens, naturally start to take priority as the cool weather reminds us of the next season that is coming.

hogs n cowsOur pastured hogs have been butchered and friends and family who ordered from us this year are picking up their meat bundles now. Our freezer is full to bursting, with Angus, pork and veggies, all raised by us or family, and the pantry shelves  are getting full with jars of home canned tomato sauce, jams, jellies, veggies, salsa, sauces and pickles.

steersFeeder steers are fattening up and we are feeding hay to all the cattle already since the lack of rain has the pastures dry and eaten down, another sign of the season.barnyardThe perennial garden flowers are already drying in the warm breezes of this early October and getting in “fall” picture sessions are a must with the beautiful colors outside now. I am taking more and more pictures for friends and family and it has been so fun!

Silyafall.8
Our beautiful niece, who I can’t take enough pictures of! She is SO cute!

OUR BIG NEWS! Each fall we have projects that are at the top of our list that we want to get done before the weather turns cold, and the frost and snow comes. This year we have more on that list than ever before, as we prepare to start milking cows on our farm!

The list of jobs to get done before the cows arrive, seems to be endless. But with the generous help of family, we are on track and making big progress in the barn. My husband is excited to have his own cows to milk before and after work each day, as he will keep working full-time at our township as a patrolman. Some of you will probably think he is crazy to “look forward” to milking his own cows each day, but then you wouldn’t realize what a true passion he has for it. Right now he milks at a few different farms several times a week just because he loves it so much.This is his dream come true to milk his own herd at our farm.

DSC_6375.JPG
Drew jack-hammering out the old stanchions and curb.
DSC_6657
New curb being poured.

We had to kick the chickens out of their place in the barn to make room for the cows and my parents and I have moved this old coop from their place to our farm as the chickens new digs!

DSC_6638
Before we took it down to move it here……

My plan was to sell half of my 26 young hens, I have five more to sell on Saturday and then I will have met my goal and have twelve left for us. I have done this several times over the years, ordering extra chicks to raise and then sell, helping to pay for the raising up of our own flock.

DSC_6648
Mom and Dad working hard on the “new” coop. We are going to put in a big window on this side!

This fall has been super busy for us so far, as we prepare for our herd of registered Holstein’s to arrive at the end off October. Buying pipe line, finding a barn cleaner and moving chickens around, is all part of this race to have everything in place and ready on time. We have had so much help from our families and it has us feeling so thankful that we live in a country were we can chase our dreams, living and loving life on our farm! On we go towards our goal!

MORE BIG NEWS!!!

maga

I am collaborating with Best Life Ministries, YOUR BEST magazine again for the Fall edition! With recipes, pictures and an article, from The Yellow Farmhouse On The Hill!magazine

I hope you take a minute to check out this wonderful ministry,  Best Life Ministries  and for those of you who are local, you can order your own copy of the magazine straight from me and I will get it to you!

Thanks for reading for all the support you always give with such love!

-J

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

 

 

The Corner Cafe Where I Fell In Love…

As the summer days shorten and that crisp autumn season seems to emerge from nowhere, I am reminded of a favorite summer full of charm. I was nineteen and I had just been hired at my first job. It was a corner cafe in a sleepy town right off of a busy bike trail. Most of our customers were on summer vacations and they would peddle up for a nice lunch or just a slice of our iconic square pie, on their way down the bike path.

drew swing.JPGCall me old-fashioned. If you know me well, it is easy to do, I don’t try very hard to hide it at all, I am truly an old-fashioned soul.

The charm of era’s past call to me and I can’t help but be drawn in by the mood and comfort that old music, movies  or even antiques evoke. My sister is the same way, we love “old stuff”. Summer is nearing its end, my day’s are filled with canning and picking produce but when I can, I try to slow down and enjoy the charm of summer.

As I am writing this, Dinah Shore is crooning Johnny Mercer’s “Skylark” on my Pandora station, warming my soul with those “old-fashioned feelings”!Angel

“Oh skylark,
Have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom-covered lane
And in your lonely flight
Haven’t you heard the music in the night
Wonderful music
Faint as a will o’ the wisp…..”
 
-Johnny Mercer , Skylark.
Take a listen, you’ll see what I mean about that “old-fashioned feeling”.

The corner cafe, where I fell in love with cooking

As the summer days shorten and that crisp autumn season seems to emerge from nowhere, I am reminded of a favorite summer full of charm. I was nineteen and I had just been hired at my first “real” job. It was a corner cafe in a sleepy town, right off of a busy bike trail. Most of our customers were on summer vacations, and they would peddle up for a nice lunch or just a slice of our iconic square pie, on their way down the bike path.

Gina's 5
I am in blue, this was my last day! Moving on to a new job to manage and help open the Cold Stone Creamery in  Onalaska, WI.

The cafe was an old general store, that served as both antique store and cafe. The walls  on both sides lining the restaurant and the upstairs were stacked with antiques. Eclectic style was personified in both the antique pieces in the booths and the wonderful people who I worked with there.

This special place  was called Gina’s Pies are Square. After a half hour drive through Amish country to get to work in the mornings, I would help open up this quaint shop with friends, a cup of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of Frank Sinatra playing on the radio, filling the old store front with the warmth only music  can bring, floating  all the way up to the pressed tin ceiling.

gina's2
A postcard tucked in my recipe scrapbook of Gina’s Pie’s R Square. This picture of the old store front in Wilton, Wisconsin was drawn by one of my favorite people who I worked with there, Rochelle!

I had so much fun working at Gina’s and I know that the atmosphere  and the people I worked with was why it was  so easy to fall in love with cooking there. Gina ran her cafe and managed her employees with love and laughter and she taught her passion for simple, delicious food to me, with patience. The menu was homemade  soup and sandwiches, and pizza’s, coffees, Italian soda’s and homemade, from scratch pies, that were baked in square tins. Old fashioned favorites like sour cream raisin and blackberry pie, along with more unique ones like Oatmeal Guinness Stout Pie! She had a nick-name for every local who walked through the door and you felt like you knew them from the lively stories she would share about their lives in the little town of Wilton and beyond!

This was the summer I got engaged! I started buying antiques for the first time that summer as well, many from the shelves at Gina’s and just about every surrounding antique store, for my future house and life with Drew. And this was the summer I learned how to cook new exciting things I had never tried to make before, I fell in love with cooking. 

It was such a great summer!

gina's 3.JPG

 Remember those old Country Time Lemonade commercials way back in the 1990’s (some of you younger readers have probably never seen) the ones that made you just want to hang onto summer forever?

“Due to the scheduling of fall,  Summer will be a short ninety-four days…… So while there’s still time, take the long way home…..For these day’s are best enjoyed slowly……”

Those warm and homey feelings  are echoed in the simple moments these late summer days here on our farm. Drew working down in the barn, the sound of the milker on the cow at evening chores, the kids playing on the tire swing after school, the sideways light of dusk hitting them in golden streaks and the clip clop of our Amish neighbors driving by in their buggy, going home after a day of work down the road. These congenial, summertime habits are so beautiful to witness.caleb swinging.JPG

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.  -Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Enjoy the rest of summer!

Thanks for reading,

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

 

 

 

My Farmhouse Refrigerator Pickle Recipe & Homestead Update!

Having a fixer upper farm and a growing family means we don’t always have as much time or the funds to put towards fixing up this place, so it is a real lesson in patience. Tunnel vision also helps a lot! One thing at a time! But whenever there are small steps of progress towards real “fixin up” it is truly a beautiful feeling! Now on to that recipe! I just love having good recipes that are easy and delicious, ones that make putting up garden produce a breeze. It can be super stressful trying to use up all the bounty of the season, so here is one of my favorite easy recipes to use up cucumbers.

 pickles2.JPGWarm summer days are flying by here in Wisconsin and the slightest hint of fall is already in the air. There is so much I want to do this summer still. I really need this season to stretch out longer!

Our produce stand has been busy but even more so than usual today with our Amish neighbors painting the barn roof for us. People are stopping to watch them work on the steep arched roof and to buy slicer tomatoes and grab some of our best sellers, the crisp Norland Red potatoes.

DSC_5306.JPGI can’t believe how this summer is almost coming to an end already! We have completed several projects on our homestead and that does make me feel better about the season coming to an end, but  I still hope we can get more done before it gets too cold!

One small project was a new money-box for the produce cart. I scribbled up a little sketch of what I wanted the box to look like and my Dad built me this within a few days! Thanks Dad!

 

DSC_5305
I had fun painting the sunflowers on it and I love how bright and cheerful it looks too.

Having a fixer upper farm and a growing family means we don’t always have as much time or the funds to put towards fixing up this place, so it is a real lesson in patience. Tunnel vision also helps a lot! One thing at a time! But whenever there are small steps of progress towards real “fixin up” it is truly a beautiful feeling!

barn4
Spraying on primer.

They put on a coat of primer today and are coming back on Friday to paint on the aluminum coat. No more rusty-brown metal roof on the old barn! I can’t wait to get the barn painted red too. Might not happen this year but soon and one day I am so totally going to paint a barn quilt on the side of it as well! If Drew lets me!

barnroofharvy.JPG
The roof is looking better even just with primer on it! Now the sides look even worse though! Need to paint it red!

amish painting roofYet another sign of summer winding up is the big hogs out in the barnyard and the exorbitant amount of feed they are going through.

 

DSC_4013
Carrying feed bags down to the barn. Drew just loves when I am constantly snapping pictures of him while he is doing all the work! 

The hogs are almost fed out and ready to be butchered. Can it really be that time of the year already? They are eating SO much right now, and are getting pretty big. We will miss having these happy friends in the pen out next to the barn, oinking at us. But they have lived a good, happy life, being well taken care of, and such is life on the farm.hogs and carter.JPG

Now on to that recipe! I just love having good recipes that are easy and delicious, ones that make putting up garden produce a breeze. It can be super stressful trying to use up all the bounty of the season, so here is one of my favorite easy recipes to use up cucumbers.pickles3.JPG

Simple. Sweet. Crisp

Jessica’s Farmhouse Refrigerator Pickles

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced onions

Directions

 

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 8-10 minutes.

Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator making sure that the brine is covering the vegetables. 

Ready to eat once chilled! pickles.JPG

Hope you like this quick and easy recipe! After we have eaten all the pickles I slice fresh cucumbers into the jars to re-use the brine for another batch!

I have another project this week was canning strawberry rhubarb jam. It turned out great and we will enjoy these refreshing summertime fruits in the middle of winter! jam jar 2Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

2 am Saturday Morning

I ran back to our room and yelled, “Drew the neighbor’s house is on fire! Completely engulfed!” A phrase a fireman’s wife is so used to hearing but never had to yell at her husband before to wake him up!

 My eyes opened slowly as my ears recognized the cracking and popping sounds of fire, I rolled over in bed and my eyes quickly focused on a bright orange glow outside the window. “The garage!” I thought instantly as I flew out of bed and ran to the playroom on that side of the house to see what was on fire.img_6413My eyes didn’t make it to the garage. Our neighbor’s house outside the window, which is just a stones throw from our house, was on fire! It was surrounded by flames on all sides swirling up in a funnel of smoke and flames, the basement to the peak of the roof, even the front porch was on fire.

I ran back to our room and yelled, “Drew the neighbor’s house is on fire! It’s fully engulfed!”

A phrase a fireman’s wife is so used to hearing but never had to yell at her husband before to wake him up.img_6410

He jumped out of bed, glanced out the window and said, “Oh no!” and grabbed his phone and called it in. I opened the boy’s door to check on them in the next room over, sound a sleep still thankfully.

I threw on a sweatshirt and ran downstairs, I could hear Drew talking to the fire chief on the phone as he quickly got dressed, his second phone call. I ran outside to the front porch to make sure our house hadn’t caught on fire too. It was warm on the siding but was okay still.

No one was around. Not a single person had drove past, or other neighbor had woke up to notice this house completely engulfed in flames. It was so eerie.

img_1457I didn’t want to stay on that side of the house to long, the thought of the neighbor’s house exploding was all I could think of. So I ran back inside to call the neighbors dad who lives two houses down.

About five years ago or so our neighbors were busted for methamphetamine production and distribution in this house that was now on fire, since then the thought of that house blowing up has been in the back of my mind. 

Drew was outside checking our house now and watching the neighbor’s house as he talked with another fire department officer on the phone, telling him how bad it was and advising them how much help was needed. “Their car is gone, I don’t think they are home.” He said into his phone.

A few explosions had gone off at this point, paint cans? Gas cans? img_6408I noticed my husband was staying behind our garage as well, not standing on that side near the neighbor’s house. Later the next day I asked why he was staying behind the garage to look at it and he said he thought it was going to blow too, because of meth.

I was super nervous leaving the kids in our house with the danger so close, I wanted to put them in the truck and go park down by the barn but Drew said it was fine and to let them sleep, it might be too scary if they woke up anyway.

My husband has been on the local volunteer fire department for thirteen years now. We live pretty far from the fire department compared to the other members and several times a year on this stretch of highway we live on, there are bad car accidents or structure fires that he would have to drive past to get to the fire department to drive back to the scene. Drew now has a second pair of gear he keeps with him in his truck so he can go direct to calls if needed.img_1456 Since we moved here almost twelve years ago, on the 1/2 mile stretch of road from corner to corner in front of our place their has been four fatalities plus other accidents with serious injuries, and plenty without injuries that could have been really bad including car vs. buggy, all right near our house on this part of the highway. People drive WAY to fast through here. So Drew having a set of gear in his truck has become a necessity.

Before I could find the neighbor’s phone number I noticed they had seen it now too. Drew went over to talk with them and make sure they had called the people who lived there to make sure they were both out. Then you could hear sirens coming…..

Drew talked quickly with the safety officer for the fire department who had arrived first and then with the fire chief as he arrived on scene soon after and pulled in our driveway to park. Then he started putting on his extra pair of gear to help.

I had been upstairs to check on the boys a handful of times at this point. The neighbor’s house was really burning hot now and our upstairs was getting really warm. The boys where still sleeping thankfully so I let them be.img_6409Soon after the fire chief arrived the rest of the fire department pulled up and went to work keeping the fire contained to the house and making sure that our house wasn’t getting to warm on this side and keeping the surrounding trees from catching on fire. The police and an ambulance where here now too. I can’t explain enough the relief one feels when the fire department pulls on to the scene! 

These brave men on our fire department sacrifice so much time and energy into training and then on accidents and fires and more, providing our community with help, protection and safety.  They put their own lives in harm’s way to help others, strangers. I can’t say enough about them all!

img_1460Our boys woke up when they heard the sirens from the tanker and engines and I tried to calm them down and settle their fears. I got them in coats, hats and gloves after a while and we sat on the front porch and watched Dad and uncle Dustin and all the firemen do their job.img_6422Drew came over to check on his boys after a while and tell them everything was alright now. The fire was calming down and with nothing much left to save on the structure, they would just let it burn.img_1455I sent our boys back to bed after some cookies, hugs and prayers and I tried to go to sleep too, the men still working outside. I never did fall back asleep, my stomach was still churning, a normal feeling these days and something I’ve gotten used to these last three months plus of being pregnant.

Drew came in around 4:30am and I was still awake, the smell of coffee coming upstairs. “You just staying up?” I asked…( We are up to do our chores at 5:00ish every morning) “Yeah, no point in going to bed” He said. So I came down to drink coffee too since I couldn’t sleep anyway.

We sat in front of our wood stove and watched the morning news as we talked and drank our coffee while the sparse remains of the neighbor’s house continued to burn out the window.

img_6426
What’s left….

Our boys were pretty shaken up for the better half of the next day but they have been fine since then. I was jumpy all the next day and the sound of the fire cracking and popping in our wood stove still makes me pause and listen until I realize all is as it should be.img_6428Since then I have been struck with the reality of how fast things can change.

I look at our glowing Christmas tree each day and then see beyond it to the charred remains that was their home just a few days ago. What a sad thing to happen and how scary for them. They had left just an hour before to go to a friend’s house. They also lost three pet cats to the fire. Thankfully they weren’t hurt themselves. 

I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to the fire department and police and first responders that did such a great job the other morning! Next time you hear sirens go by, take a moment to pray for their safety and those they are racing to go protect. 

Being thankful in everything should be a practiced habit and when you read this blog post by my sister you’ll definitely feel grateful for all you have!
I love this time of year we are surrounded by loved ones and reminded of how blessed we actually are to live in America! We are able to shower our kids with presents and unforgettable holiday experiences giving them warm memories to hold on to. But not everyone is so blessed and losing a home to a fire weeks before Christmas is just heartbreaking to hear!(My sweet sisters words when she read this post. Love you Jennifer!)

Wishing you a safe Christmas season!

-J

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

Bazaar.Homestead Update.Lately

Where did October go? I can’t believe how fast the days are flying by on this farm of ours.

img_5953Lately:

On this farm of ours, I have been keeping busy with home school for the boys and all of us have been getting the place ready for the cold weather that is just around the corner. Digging potatoes, cleaning gardens up and preparing the barn for winter seem to be the things we do as a family lately. Well, that and we have been spending the evenings playing board games with the boys!img_5810Now that the gardens are done, I have had more time to help my friend with photo shoot’s as well. We did a senior picture shoot down in Gaysmills at the old dam. I have always loved this building. img_5864You could say this for a lot of things here in the frosty state of Wisconsin come the winter winds and snow!img_5865Here at this log cabin village is another spot we shot pictures at in Gaysmills, Wisconsin.img_5849Lately I have been wanting to get to the orchards and we went last week, with my husbands Grandma and the boys, it was just what I needed and we had such a great time together. img_5959Also these cool fall days have had me indoors and so I’ve been making good on my word to do some paintings for friends.img_5958These are for three sisters who share a bedroom…They just finished redecorating it and this is the artwork for their bedroom design.

Homestead Update: img_5955

The last raised bed garden that has veggies in it producing still. Looking frosty this morning. Still haven’t found a good way to use sorrel that I like….any ideas friends?img_5954The tractor didn’t get fixed this summer like my hubby wanted to get done. So we moved it over by the barn to sit for the winter.imageWe did get the waterline to the barn fixed, something we have been wanting to do since we bought this place. My brother-in-law and husband and eldest son worked hard on this project. They had to dig a 5-6 foot trench from the house to the barn to replace the busted up old line.img_5956What else is new on the homestead?

Hmmmmm… Well, my husband traded a few milking’s at a neighbors dairy farm for two bull calves to feed our extra milk to from our dairy cow Prissy each day. Oh and we got all our firewood in the basement for winter.

Bazaar:

Where did October go? I can’t believe how fast the days are flying by.  I know winter is not far behind when I start doing things to prepare for the upcoming tax season. Being a municipal treasurer has been a great job for this stay at home mom but it tends to put a damper on things having to start the tax season the week before Christmas and the workload that comes with that. Though it gets easier every year and is becoming a routine and I am so grateful that I can work out of the house. 

Today is the church bazaar, another yearly marker of fall. The women at our church work hard quilting, crafting, cooking, baking and preparing for this day each year. The hard work and money going towards missions both local and worldwide. I love the commitment they put towards this event each year. So off to get ready for that!

Have a lovely weekend! Have you made that chocolate cake I blogged about last time yet? Yummmmmmmm! Don’t miss out on that one!

-J

img_5952

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

At The County Fair

It’s not to hard to understand the love affair us locals have with it, if you’ve ever lived here you know it’s a beloved tradition to go…This country fair has been held for 160 years! And in these parts, the fair is our official kick-off to fall!

All the country folk and all the city folk (okay, maybe not ALL.. but most) made their yearly trip to the local fair grounds this last weekend, to enjoy the biggest event of the year! The Vernon County Fair, here in “our town” of Viroqua Wisconsin, is the highlight of the year for many of us!

And it’s no wonder why its such a big deal or why it draws such huge crowds, this country fair has been held for 160 years! And in these parts, the fair is our official kick-off to fall!image 4H kids and anyone who would like to enter an exhibit, work hard all year-long caring for livestock, working on projects and tending the gardens just for this one weekend, in hopes of earning a blue ribbon or better yet, a Best of Show!imageIconic fair food such as corn dogs and funnel cakes along with local delicacy’s like maple syrup cotton candy, homemade pies and batter-fried cheese curds from local food vendors, fill the fair grounds with smells and temptations at every turn. You wont go home hungry!image I unfortunately forgot to get a good picture of the midway or the food vendors and these pictures don’t really do the size of the fair justice. imageOr show just how many rides there are!

Being the rural county that we are, our fair focuses on the agricultural interests of this area.image

Beautiful animals of all kinds fill up barn after barn with examples of top quality, healthy, cared for livestock. imageGoats, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, horses, cattle and hogs are some of the animals you will see. It is a steep competition for the 4H kids in this area and they put their heart and soul into their fair projects! As do the adults who enter exhibits into open classes. Like this beautiful quilt that I love!image Flowers, antiques, quilts, crafts, photography, canned goods and baking are just a few of the open classes you can enter exhibits into.imageThis is the first year I ever entered anything in a fair and it all started when I kept seeing the names of women from our church who had entered piles of things each year! I mean 50+ entries! This is one of those talented women Bernelle, who had 30 some entries this year! You are an inspiration to me Bernelle! Beautiful flowers!imageI spent four days at the fair and I still didn’t get to check out everything as close as I would have liked, including the names of the bakers who entered these lovely creations.  There is so much to see!imageOne of my personal favorites is the horses!imageNow with my boys, you will find them as close to any and all tractors as possible, with the highlight of the weekend being the tractor pull and the demo derby!imageimageThere is so much to see and do, it’s not hard to understand the love affair us locals have with our beloved county fair. You can’t hardly walk three steps without running into a neighbor or into family or friends!image

The fair experience was made all the better for me this year since it was my first time entering things in it! 

I entered red potatoes and got 3rd place which I am not going to be too happy with until I can get a blue on those bad boys someday! It’s just how I am…..But that is why I think it was so much fun entering things in the fair. I can see how every year you learn and every year you will want to do better! imageWe received a 1st place and the Eisermann Award on our garden box exhibit! This was a lot of work to put together for some reason. imageThe vast amounts of rain fall this last month have been so heavy that the vegetables were stressed and it took me a long time to get similar looking veggies put together!

And I had a rabbit who ate all but three of my carrots in the garden and I found a snake in that cabbage when I harvested it from the garden! It was curled up in the leaves I was peeling off! I will never pick a cabbage the same again!

imageI also entered a painting and this illustration which did really good, both getting blue ribbons and the illustration received a merit award as well!. Sorry for the bad picture above!imageI am so glad I entered things this year! It was worth the effort because it made the whole experience so much fun to be a part of it all! Next year I hope to see more people enter exhibits in the fair too! Need I name names people? Daniela! Hillary! Carol! Lisa! Chelsey! Becky! Mary! Anastasia! Jenna! Hannah! Heather! Jen! (Some of you probably did and I just missed it!) But there are SO many more of you that are reading this that are crazy talented in our area that should try your hand at entering things in the fair! Need I go on my friends?

So after this long post I leave you with my favorite picture from the weekend. The fair is lots of fun, unless you pick the only airplane on the ride that doesn’t work, like this guy did……then its no fun at all! image

Country living at it’s best and a great start to fall is a visit to the local country fair each year! Thanks for reading!

-J

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.