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

The Week Before Christmas Challenge: DAY #2: Take the time to de-stress.

Did you listen to that beautiful song I posted on the blog post yesterday? Are you taking the time to de-stress, this busy week before Christmas? Well, today I want to share with you one of my favorite scene’s from (only the BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER) and one scene that I can watch over and over again! But first let me tell you about my goofy hens…..

It’s time to let go of all the stress, and focus on the reason for this season. Come back to the basic’s and dwell in the sweet, simple moments of this week before Christmas.

The first real snow fell last week and my young hens, who have never seen a winter before, had no clue what had happened all around them.  I had a million things to do inside, and several chores to finish up outside this morning, but as the chickens started to peek their heads out of the coop, noticing the snow and cackling up a storm at the sight of it, I paused. I stood there for a good ten minutes and waited in the cold, all the things I had yet to do, slowly started to retreat from my mind. The sun warmed my face and I watched as the confused hens pecked at the cold, sparkly white snow, but still they refused to step into it.

DSC_0691Then the first few brave hens stepped off of the stoop, and into the snow for the first time ever in their life, and their reaction was hilarious! (Well, if you find animals amusing like I do!)DSC_0704

They didn’t know what to do and they started trying to fly over the snow instead of walking through it.DSC_0720

It was pretty funny. They did not like the cold snow and I actually had one chicken who I found ten minutes later, just sitting down in the snow back behind a planter, all by herself….just sitting down in the snow, like she was just done. She refused to move or do anything! Probably thinking to herself she was done for….”just go on without me!” hahaaaaaa…. And the rest were huddled together standing like flamingo’s, one foot up out of the snow.DSC_0736

Well, anyway it was so funny and I am so glad that I took the time to wait out in the cold, when I had so many other things to do. It was fun and therapeutic to just pause and watch nature for a while. So that is my challenge for you today! 

Pause!

Take the time to de-stress.

Look out your window and take in some nature, or even better go for a walk and absorb some therapeutic sunshine and fresh air, or watch a good old-fashioned Christmas movie with the family tonight, all that other stuff can wait a while longer. It’s important to take time to let the stress go, and make time for special moments for yourself, and for you and your family this busy week.

Did you listen to that beautiful song I posted on the blog post yesterday? Well, today I want to share with you one of my favorite scene’s from White Christmas (only the BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER) and one scene that I can watch over and over again! 

Have a peaceful stress-free evening!

-J

 

 

 

The Week Before Christmas Challenge DAY #1 & Christmas Gumdrop Nougat Recipe

It’s one of those old classic recipes, that has been somewhat forgotten.
It tastes like a soft saltwater taffy, with a creamy marshmallow and spicy gumdrop flavor, it is a wonderful addition to any dessert table and  was a huge hit at the last family gathering I brought it too, for young and old alike.

It’s the week before Christmas and the stress is mounting. Can you feel it? Are you more of a Grinch this Monday morning than full of Christmas cheer?

I am here to help you and to tell you, you’re not alone! This week I am going to be sharing with you recipes and cheer to get your heart and kitchen ready for Christmas this coming weekend! DSC_0001WHY I WANTED TO SKIP CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR.

So far, this December has been the most stressful month of my life. I have had so much going on that its been an absolute blur! The somewhat still new schedule of dairy-farming has me tired and cramped for extra time during the day, and the upcoming tax season for our township, that I had to prepare for, had me up until very late several nights trying to get the envelopes stuffed and everything ready to send out right in the midst of working on a Christmas magazine and I had to upgrade my work computer at the same time, techy stuff….not my thing!

The Christmas YOUR BEST magazine I was being featured in with 8 recipes and 15 pages that are my pictures, to bake and take, left the house and kitchen a huge stirred up mess! christmasmag2017

To say I’ve been busy, is an understatement. Adding to the stress, our little 7 month old daughter has decided she wants no one but Daddy and Mommy holding her, so there has been no break from baby for over a month, and I am at a loss for how to fix this, when we don’t really see many people all week-long to help her get used to others holding her.

Tax bills got mailed out and then the deliveries for all of the magazines to friends and family who ordered one from me, 80+ magazines started. While online Christmas shopping, children’s commitments to sports and family photo sessions needed to be squeezed in.

Then, you can add all of that CHRISTMAS stuff, like decorating, school and church programs, cards and EVERYTHING and you may see why I have been STRESSED and ready to skip Christmas as much as I can this year!

And I know I am not the only one who’s felt this way.

DSC_0404

I love Christmas! I love decorating for it. I love working the Christmas sale at the furniture décor store in town every year. I love baking and cooking for family and friends during this season. I love buying loved ones personal gifts, to share some love and joy with them. I love it all. I love the Christmas programs and church services. I love the bible study Christmas parties and fellowship times. I love reading and discussing the story of Jesus’s birth and the reason we celebrate this season with my children. I love watching old Christmas movie classics while wrapping presents and writing out Christmas cards. I love it!

But this year I was ready to skip Christmas all together. I AM TOO BUSY FOR IT! And that’s not me at all!

I am so excited for this week. I am ready to do my Christmas thing, and be all festive and in the Christmas spirit! It’s going to happen, and it’s going to be great! Time to let go of all the stress and focus on the reason for this season. Come back to the basic’s and dwell in the sweet, simple moments of this week before Christmas.

The GREAT WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE, is a challenge for myself (and anyone who wants to tag along with me) to take the time for including the most special parts of the Christmas season this busy week before Christmas.

Peacefulness, togetherness and most importantly for me, reflection and reverence on the birth of Christ, the reason for the season.

DSC_0001

Take time to be TOGETHER today.

  • Enjoy “together time” with your family today by either making or just eating this together for dessert!

It’s one of those old classic recipes, that has been somewhat forgotten.

It tastes like a soft saltwater taffy, with a creamy marshmallow and spicy gumdrop flavor, it is a wonderful addition to any dessert table and  was a huge hit at the last family gathering I brought it too, for young and old alike.

DSC_0014CHRISTMAS GUMDROP NOUGATS 

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 bags mini marshmallows (250g) per bag

2 bags white chocolate chips (225g) per bag

2 cups gumdrops

Melt first three ingredients together until smooth, mix in gumdrops (I roughly chop them a bit first) Spread onto parchment lined 9×13 pan, Chill for four hours before cutting and serving. ENJOY!

  • Take time to reflect on Christ’s birth. 

Think about the gift we have been given by God. That He would send His own son down to earth, for you and me.

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:29  “…the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

 

  • Make time for peacefulness today.

One of my favorite ways to do that, is by listening to beautiful music,  and here is my favorite rendition of my favorite Christmas carol, it is so beautiful and will bring you peace trust me!

No matter how you choose to spend your week before Christmas, I hope you have a blessed Christmas with the ones you love!

-MERRY CHRISTMAS

-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.

Buttermilk Cranberry Bars & Embracing Change

 Change is GOOD! I always want to be progressing towards change. Growing in all areas of my life for the better. Learning new things, trying to reach goals and polishing skills that I have been blessed to be given. So why is it so hard?

“Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate.”

– J.R.R.Tolkien

  I find myself driving the back roads of Vernon County Wisconsin where we call home, more than usual these cool October days. I cant help but grab my camera, and head out in search of a few images to capture the feeling that the colors of the season paint all around us, before they are gone for good!

DSC_7795

We live in a truly beautiful area that is always changing so vibrantly with each season! These are a few pictures taken within a few miles of our farm.

barnyard7
Lower Hornby Hollow, just down from our place.

 

Amish horse

Amish school

With the change in season’s, and the cold rainy weather that has already brought snow with it, it has left me struggling to adjust to the thought of what comes after fall!

 WINTER!!! I am not ready to hibernate for the winter yet!

I am doing better now and I have adjusted to the inevitable season that is coming.  I started up the wood stove, and brought out the mittens, scarves and hats in final surrender.

DSC_8143
We are working on the barn every day, getting it ready to milk cows in. It is a work in progress, but it is coming along good and we are on track to start milking in a week or two.

 With all the changes happening around here lately I have been dwelling on the concept of change, and why I rebel against it so. I love AND hate change. I guess that is because of fear, I am afraid of the uncertain.

I happened to catch a part of a sermon the other morning that hit on the subject of change, as well. The pastor talked about when he graduated high school, and how a friend wrote in his yearbook, “Don’t ever change, Dude!”, he went on to say how silly of a comment that is to make to someone! Don’t ever change? Why would you want to stay the same? Like an old mud puddle,  all stagnant?

Stagnant: showing no activity; dull and sluggish: inactive · sluggish · slow-moving · lethargic · static · flat · depressed · declining  · dying · dead · dormant

 Change is GOOD! I always want to be progressing towards change. Growing in all areas of my life for the better. Learning new things, trying to reach goals and polishing skills that I have been blessed to be given. So why is it so hard?

Some may see this as not being content in life, always wanting to progress towards change and growth.  They are kind of right! I am not content to sit back and watch others do things that I want to learn myself, and I am not content to sit stagnant instead of growing in a skill! And the challenge with any skill is, that though you practice that skill over and over, often you grow little or very slowly.DSC_8040

I remember once, a very close friend of mine had moved back after packing up and moving several states away for a job, they eventually returned home and after spending some time together again, she told me that I had changed. I remember thinking, “of course I had changed!”, it had been years since they had moved away, and I HOPE I wasn’t the same as I was that many years ago.

Now she had meant that I wasn’t the same person, not as good of a friend. And I HAD changed a lot, I was a stay at home mom now, homeschooling my kids and I had a few little side businesses going, like my produce stand, and I was doing in home daycare for a family and I had started blogging!DSC_6303

I had developed a focused drive to make it all work. And it did all work! With God’s help and my husbands! I was determined and focused, but to my friend, I was not as fun or as approachable as I used to be. Now I had seen the growth I had made in those ventures as progress, and a good thing, but it took away from my time with my friends, and changed who I was. This is something I am still trying to work on.

For me as a Christian, I desire to always remain in God’s will for my life, and when I am working towards growing in different areas,  it is not always easy to balance that with everything else. I also have to be careful that I am wanting to be better in something for the right reasons! ( Colossians 3:23) As well as being careful to make time for everything.

I know its not just me that struggles to find a balance between work and life, and that this isn’t a new concept to you. We all naturally want to succeed, and be better at the the talents  or hobbies we have, while still maintaining focus on what is most important in life. So I guess this blog is a reminder to myself that change is good! And to keep reaching towards goals, while still making sure to keep friends and family close! 

Do you ever struggle with this?

DSC_8103

Buttermilk Cranberry Bars

I have one of MY FAVORITE recipes to share with you today! This is the perfect recipe for you to try out on one of these cold, fall days!

DSC_8101

…SOFT… CHEWY… TART… SWEET… CREAMY…YUMMY…GET IN MY TUMMY!!!

Wisconsin grown cranberry’s, the zing of orange zest, frothy buttermilk in the batter  and cream cheese frosting, add incredible flavors to this dessert!

I have held onto this recipe since I started the blog, waiting for just the right time to share it with you all, and NOW IS THAT TIME!

DSC_8124

I always try to have dehydrated orange slices in the freezer for zesting the peel into recipes. But you can use a fresh orange too!

Buttermilk Cranberry Bars

prep

cook 35 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • the zest from 1 orange
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (set aside a few tablespoons of flour to coat the cranberries in)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, coat in some of the flour before adding to the batter.
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, beat until combined. Toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt in a seperate bowl.
  3. Add flour mixture to the batter, a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the cranberries.
  4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Bake for 35 minutes, then check to see if it is done by touching the top gently or by inserting a toothpick. If necessary, return pan to oven,keep a close eye on it.. Do not over bake.
  5. Let cool completley and frost with cream cheese frosting!
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 8 Oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cream cheese frosting: Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. 

SERVE & ENJOY!!!

DSC_8052

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Step #1. Ask yourself, are you LAZY?

The majority of people would rather rely on others to provide what they need to eat and live. Most people would rather “live life” than spend it “working that hard”. How about you? What if things got so bad that we didn’t have others providing milk, bread and heat for our homes? You can start today! No matter where you live, city or country THIS IS THE FIRST STEP!

brian3.JPG

 I think many see the beauty of a homesteading life and long for that lifestyle because they can see the common sense of it. Other’s look at homesteaders like we are crazy, detached from reality. Which are you? 

Do you have the most basic of desires to provide for your family in ALL circumstances, maintaining the same level of comfort for them through good times and bad and not letting the fast paced, hectic world ruin your short time you have together as a family? Enjoying a life lived together?

Healthy lives for each family member, filled with wholeness and not empty fillers and experiences that fade away. Do you have the peace and security one gains from NOT relying on others to feed or provide for their family?postpounder

 What are your priorities?

The majority of people would rather rely on others to provide what they need to eat and live. Most people would rather “live life” than spend it “working that hard”. 

That is just fine! You’re the majority and very normal but you are alone in that if those that are providing the very basics of life for your family like milk, food and heat ever stop doing what they are doing or it becomes too expensive for you to afford, you will have only yourself to blame when you didn’t do what you could to ensure those basics are provided for your family in ALL circumstances.Prissy and Brian.JPG

Make your own bread! Learn how and get comfortable with it! It costs you A LOT OF MONEY to buy basic necessities of life from others who manufacture them for you. I know that everyone is busy and that not everyone wants to cook and bake or plan ahead to provide those basic comforts of life for their family by hand, but just for a moment think about the money you save and the quality of life you could give your family if you did. Or if you lost your main source of income and had to make drastic changes quickly. Could you? And how are you set up to do so?

Let’s think of the first and most basic of places to start for providing a good quality of life for your family.

Food!

Think of all you can make from one $4-$5 bag of flour. Cookies, breads, pizza crusts, buns, cakes, all sorts of home cooking to feed a family for a week, most that require only 2-3 cups of flour per recipe and some of your time to make them.

How many loaves of bread can you buy for that $4-$5 dollars?

You can buy several CHEAP loaves of “bread” that are loaded with fillers and preservatives that make it cheap and unhealthy that your body has a very hard time digesting or you could buy one good loaf of bread for that amount of money. Which option is better?

How about drive thru meals you grab because you don’t have time to cook or sit around the dinner table as a family due to the hectic schedule you have allowed to be your life?

That $5-$8 meal per person is a HUGE chunk of money when added up at the end of the month and when compared to what you could buy with that $5-$8 per person of meal prep food items like meat, dairy or fresh fruit or veggies its simply not wise. It comes down to the amount of time you are willing to commit to preparing your own food. And do you have a full pantry set up for if something bad happened and you couldn’t go shopping for a month? You don’t have to buy a dairy cow and have backyard chickens to be prepared for your family’s worse-case scenario! The most common things that would happen would be the loss of your main source of income or a natural disaster. Do you care enough for your family that you are prepared for those two circumstances? Or would you rather go golfing every weekend or go on another family trip?

 

Are you lazy? Are you?

We live in a world that is absolutely obsessed with being healthy and working-out and working off all that horrible processed, manufactured food we put in our bodies because we are too lazy to make real food. How about your children? Do you buy that cheap box of corn dog’s and the 5 for $10 pizza’s to feed them? Or DO YOU feed your family healthy meals but they cost you an arm and a leg because you are having to buy those healthy pre-made conveniences?  

How much of your hard-earned money do you spend on groceries a month including toiletries? How much more on drive thru meals?

We spend $250 a month on groceries. Have for years. Same amount budgeted each month. We grow or make everything else and need only $250 a month for food items I don’t make and toiletries like, soaps and shampoos and things. We spend $8 a week on grain for the dairy cow, in case you were wondering how much it costs to have her on the farm providing dairy products for us. Can you do better? We ALL can!

I could take an extra few hours a week to prep healthy meals for our family and plan ahead a little but…….I don’t have the time!

 We all have the same amount of time in a day, 24 hours. What are you filling up your 24 hours with? What are your priority’s? What do you make time for? How much time do you waste? Could you have a few extra hours if you woke up earlier?image

You create your own chaos and you have prioritized your families time with the things you have allowed to take precedence over family togetherness and security. It is the lifestyle you have picked!

I know we can’t all pick up and move and buy a homestead even if we dream of it and maybe that is not even close to what you dream of for your family. But if answering these questions throughout this post revealed to you that you desire to rely more on yourself and not others for your families basic necessities and that you have a the heart of a homesteader, then TAKE THE LEAP!

Start by saving money and not buying store-bought convenience just for the time it saves you. No matter where you live, city or country THIS IS THE FIRST STEP!

Why? Because if you take that leap into self-sufficiency you gain knowledge and security. Just see where it takes you because even if you think you are living a full life with wonderful experiences for your family and if all you have to give up to live that way is “healthy home cooked meals” and “family time around the table” you are still giving up providing for those loved ones in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!

 

Heaven forbid things got so bad that we didn’t have others providing milk, bread and heat for our homes. 

So what ARE your priority’s?

Do you dream of moving out to the country with your family, eating homegrown vegetables from your garden, raising chickens and your own food and living a peaceful existence on your own piece of dirt? Do you feel this deep down longing to provide things for your family and start being more self-sufficient, doing things for yourself? Do you want to escape from the 9-5 work week and live life before it’s over? Do you feel your family is growing apart as a result of the busy lifestyle you have created?

Watch out! You might just be a homesteader at heart! 

Take the leap! Learn to do more for yourselves. Maybe it will take you to the dream homestead you have always wanted! Or maybe it will just take you to a few wonderful home-cooked meals a week around your dinner table with your family instead of the drive thru!

You can gain the knowledge of how to make food from basic essentials like a bag of flour. Something so simple yet so fundamental to daily life! How wonderful and how much more prepared you will be to care for your loved ones!

Learn to make your own bread! And if that is something you already know how to do, what else can you add to your skill set? I want to learn how to make sour dough breads and can more meals! How about you?

-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.

 

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.