Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Viva Nashvegas...

Heather & Shannon Slaughter

B and I headed out to music city this weekend to see our dear friends Shannon and Heather Slaughter along with their band County Clare perform at The Station Inn .  We had a ball as usual when we get together with old friends, we made some new ones too!  The weather was beautiful, the music was awesome and I can't wait to go back.  Here are some photos from their event and a video of them from another one of their performances.  If you love bluegrass, old country music or me you should definitely check out their website here and catch a show, or buy a CD.  It's time and money well spent trust me. 

Casey Murray - Banjo
John Boulware- Fiddle , Ron Inscore-Mandolin             

Myself and Heather
We love these guys, they mean a lot to us. I just wish we lived closer together, but we still manage to see each other pretty often. 
See we were VIP's -  we had a reserved table :)

So go hurry, check out their website, buy their CD!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Loads of fun....

As you know we are working on saving a dollar here and there.  I had heard of this homemade laundry detergent craze so I thought we'd give it a try. The ladies at Bee Fruitful Farm and their mother were happy to share the info.  You can visit their blog here. We've been using it for about two weeks now and are pretty happy with it.  Here's how you do it.....

For your laundry detergent you will need:
1 1/2 Cups Borax
1 1/2 Cups Washing Soda
1 1/2 Bar Colgate Octagon Soap
5 gallon bucket- with lid
previously used laundry detergent container

The borax is around $4.00 and the Washing Soda about $7.00 at Walmart.  The soap is harder to find, I found ours at Food Lion it was around $.89. 

Start by chopping your soap, shredding it would be best, but I got lazy and excited so I just chopped it up. 

Add soap to saucepan on the stove and melt over low heat.  You can add water to the mixture to make it easier to stir ( I did).

After mixture is COMPLETELY melted.  Pour into the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. (B got ours at Lowe's Hardware, if your lucky and have access to those that flour or sugar comes in that works best for storage)  Immediately pour in  1 1/2 cups of Borax, and 1 1/2 cups of washing soda.  Stir to dissolve powders.  Then fill up the 5 gallon bucket the rest of the way with water. Stir very good, I used a paint stirrer... but I've heard the back scratchers from the dollar store work great for this :) .

Have someone big and strong help you funnel the solution into a bottle that you've saved.  If you forgot to save your bottle any plastic container will work, just make sure it had laundry safe ingredients in it previously.  Use the same amount of this solution as you would other laundry detergent.  It has a clean smell but it's not overpowering. You can add essential oils if you wish to the mixture but I'm ok with just smelling clean.  Make sure to give the jug a good shake before you use it each time. Store covered. 

And like I said, Make sure to have a strong farm hand standing by to carry that bucket for you! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strawberry Pickin' Time

This weekend it was time for the annual trip to the strawberry patch.  I look forward to this every year and anxiously wait to see the signs go up on the side of the road signaling that the strawberries are ready. My parents went with me this year to pick, B's uncle was in town from Indiana so he was out doing something manly I'm sure like chopping wood, or mowing hay.. or maybe at an all you can eat breakfast fundraiser.

 I think the strawberry patch is so pretty! I always get a little carried away when I'm picking and usually wind up with way too many, because they are so easy to pick. Really with strawberries the possibilities are endless.  This photo is both of mine and mom's strawberries. If you want to go pick your own you can find out more here at Howard's Strawberry Farm . They also sell produce, and you can put your name on a list to be called when their wonderful sweet peaches and cream corn is ready. 

I of course couldn't do the norm and make plain strawberry jam, besides I have some left from last year.  So this year I decided to make Strawberry-Jalapeno Jam.  It is delicious, even If I did make it. Similar to that same sweet taste of pepper jelly.  B did assist in cutting the Jalapenos because that was "dangerous". I think he was just montoring to make sure I didn't spill any hot sugary substance on the ceramic cooktop (thank you Lowe's guy for this warning, and for adding the permanent hint of worry to my husband's mind )  Here's the recipe....

3 Jalapeno peppers-stemmed and deveined
6 cups of sugar
5 cups of crushed strawberries
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 package of fruit pectin

1. Clean and sterilize jars, lids and rings
2. Combine peppers, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice in large stainless steel pan.  Mash with potato masher over medium heat, stirring often. Bring to a rolling boil, boil for 1 minute. 
3. Reduce heat; stir in pectin.  Simmer for 10 minutes; stirring frequently. Quickly skim off any foam. 
4. Quickly pour jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add warm lids and rings. 

7 Frozen pints, 11 jars of Jam, and 2 bowls for devouring!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Welcome !

Welcome to our blog! Flat Oak Farms is still taking baby steps, just as we are in our new life that we are building together. This blog will give you a little dose of what's going on on the farm, projects we are working on and how God is blessing our lives. For a little background information on B and I you can read more about us here.  You may be wondering where we ever came up with the name Flat Oak Farms? Let me explain.  B's nickname in the Nascar world has always been Flat...I suppose when you're super tall and slim it's easy to be named after the cardboard cutouts aka flat stanleys.  B asked me to marry him under the huge Oak tree in the pasture, we used the Oak tree symbol on our wedding invites and I have always had a love for tree images so there you have it. Follow us on our adventures in farming, re-modeling, beekeeping, canning, crafting and cooking. Welcome to the Farm!