Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Packing in the High Uintas

I came across this photo the other day and thought I would share it.  Several years after we were married, my handsome man (in the plain brown shirt, black cowboy hat, and the big, broad shoulders) and I (the gal sitting behind and to the right in a straw cowboy hat)  guided horse pack trips into the High Uinta Mountains.  This particular trip we had a group of CEO's from a world wide steel company.  They were a great bunch!  Here we are looking into the State of Wyoming high up above the tree line.
This trip began with 13 horses to shoe in one day!  My amazing, strong, husband wasn't daunted by the task .  He finished just before dark and then we packed and loaded the mules, saddled up our horses, and headed for the mountains.  After reaching our destination in the middle of the night, we unloaded, slept for a few short hours, and then he was off back down the mountain at 4:00 a.m. to pick up our guests while I set up camp.  High in the mountains you can get snow in the middle of the summer and this trip we had it for several days.  It would melt off during the day, but the nights were awfully cold.  Each day as I worked over the campfire, I would put several big rocks in the fire to heat up.  Wrapping them in towels and placing them strategically in our sleeping bags, one at our feet, the other to cuddle close to our stomachs to keep our vital organs warm.  Our guests had a wood burning stove in their large canvas tent which they graciously let me warm my fingers by before preparing breakfast.  Meals were prepared over an open fire using cast iron dutch ovens.  My favorite meal to prepare was filleted trout, skin on with a herb seasoned cornmeal and flour coating, freshly caught in a high mountain lake just minutes before dinner.  This was a great opportunity and the few years we were able to spend several weeks at a time in the high country will always be one of my favorite memories. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Apples, Apples, Apples

Hopefully you were able to harvest apples this fall.  If you do not grow your own, seek out farmers in your area who grow organically.  The following recipe suggestions use unpeeled apples.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.  Add several unpeeled, apples  chopped into large pieces.  Add  1 tablespoon of water and 1/2 cup of raw or brown sugar.  Cook until apples are soft. This is a good recipe to use cellar apples that are going soft. 

Serve over home-made whole wheat pancakes add a drizzle of pure maple syrup.  YUMM!!!!
Here's a hint for making the store bought pancake batter taste like home-made.  For every cup of pancake mix add 1 cup of whole wheat flour.  Add an egg and buttermilk, you can use soured  milk , or try this, add 2 Tbs. vinegar per 1 cup milk, adding the vinegar will make it curdle.  Cook on a hot cast iron griddle for best results,


 I use smaller apples for bottling.  Simply cut unpeeled apples in quarters.  Remove the core and seeds.  Cook until heated in a large kettle adding just enough syrup (water/sugar ratio) to keep them from sticking to the bottom. When thoroughly heated through, place in quart jars and add your favorite heated syrup mix.  I  use a light syrup mixture.  Process in a hot water bath canner according to the time recommended for peaches.  These apples are great right out of the jar, or heat them with a splash of the bottled juice for a quick pancake topping, we also enjoy blending them lightly in a food processor to make a chunky applesauce.  Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Freeze the syrup from your bottled fruits in Popsicle molds or ice cube trays for a refreshing snack, try adding the cubes to smoothies.
When raising my family, over a 1000 quarts of produce would be bottled every year.  I found that leaving the peelings on Pears, Nectarines, and Apples saved so much time.  (purchase/use only organic, un-sprayed fruit)  My kids didn't know that bottled Pears were peeled before bottling until they went away to college!

This is the best apple pie you will ever eat!


Make your favorite pie crust recipe and place in a 9 inch pie pan.
 (I prefer ceramic or glass pans)
Core and slice apples, but do not peel! (use un-sprayed)
In a large bowl place apples, 4 heaping tbs. flour, about 1/2 cup brown sugar, a tsp. of cinnamon and 5 Tbs. butter cut into small pieces.  Stir well until apples are coated.  
 Now add a handful or two of  Walnut halves, crush slightly before adding.  I also add some raisins.  Pour apples into the pie pan,  I fill it high above the rim.  Place pie shell over top, crimp edges, and cut vent holes.  Wash the crust with an egg white mixed with a bit of water and sprinkle sugar over top.  Bake until crust is golden, about 40 mins. at 350.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Making Saurerkraut

The Cabbage Family who lives at our farm

Harvest  firm solid heads of cabbage from the garden.  Wash thoroughly.

add 5 pounds of shredded cabbage,
3 tablespoons of salt
into a ceramic crock, food grade bucket, or a large glass jar;

Fit a clean plate and weight inside the container on top of the cabbage.  Press down firmly.  This weight will force the juices out of the cabbage.  Put a clean towel over the container.
Over the next 24 hours periodically press down on the weight forcing out the liquid.  If after a 24 hour period the juice does not cover the cabbage, add salt water
 (tsp. to 1 cup water) until it covers the cabbage entirely.
Place the container in a cool dark place for 2 to 6 weeks depending on your preference.
Skim off the film on top.  Taste.  The first couple of weeks it will taste tart and tangy, but will mellow the longer you leave it.  When it is to your liking, place in glass jars and refrigerate, or to keep it longer put in sterile jars and process.  Check a good canning book for instructions.
 Variations: Try adding shredded beets, carrots or apples to the cabbage.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.......!
I will start at the beginning.  It has taken me over thirty years of struggling with Thyroid Disease, very low metabolism and weight issues to finally figure out this simple, extremely easy way to loose weight.  It all started when my medication was changed.  For a couple of years now the regular meds I have been on were discontinued.  A replacement was prescribed and it just didn't set well with me.  Over the course of a few short weeks, I had gained over 30 pounds!  There was nothing I could do.  I work hard, really hard all day long, milking, weeding, hauling things, digging holes, shoveling manure to haul to the gardens, etc. etc. and even though my calorie count was simply what I would eat out of the garden each day, I still couldn't loose weight.  Well, the manufactures of the medicine I usually take resumed manufacturing and I am happy to say I am feeling so much better and the weight is slowly coming off. 
But this very  morning I had a flash of inspiration and came up with the

You see, I am at an art festival this whole week.  I hooked on and drug my recently
see more photos here

to stay in.  I usually just eat fresh fruit and vegetables when I am camping and painting because I don't have a fridge, but with the colder weather coming in I thought I would get me something more substantial to stick to my ribs, just a bit in the early, cold mornings.  As I walked the isles of the grocery store, I purchased some oatmeal.  Generally we use the whole raw rolled oats when we make "SMUSH" as our family calls it.  Adding dried cranberries, or raisins, and just a dash of raw sugar, it makes an excellent breakfast.  I thought the box of oatmeal, individually packaged with dried blueberries would make a good, quick and easy breakfast. The next morning I got up early and lit the Colman camp stove, brought a kettle of water to a boil and poured the contents of the packet into a bowl.  It just didn't look right and there was an over abundant amount of sugar.  I needed to get to a designated area within a few minutes so I poured the water over top and let it sit for the specified amount of time.  It still didn't look right and it was very watery, I stirred it and let it sit a bit longer, but the water didn't absorb.  I poured off the excess water and begun to eat.  It was awful, grabbing my cup of water I washed down the mouthful and continued in this manner until I had eaten the whole bowl.  That's when it hit me.  I had just stumbled upon the

It's simple, fix and eat only the foods you don't like.  Take a mouthful and follow it with a large gulp of water to wash it down.  Continue in this manner until the food is gone.  
Here is why this works.
1.  If you have to eat foods you don't like, you will be likely to eat less.
2.  By gulping water in between mouthfuls, you will become full faster.
3.  Drinking all that water will hydrate your skin, flush the toxins from your body,
making you look 20 years younger......well, that may be a stretch.
And last but not least, you may even begin to like the foods you thought you didn't!

.........just to let you know, I absolutely LOVE broccoli,
I don't have a picture of LIVER, the one and only food I do not like.

Please consult with your doctor before following any advice, nonsense you might find in this blog!
The author will not be held responsible for your results.......results may vary,..... for instance, if you don't like cheese cake......well, that could be a problem!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes

#note:  this post was written this past spring, but for some reason I didn't post it.  Jerusalem Artichokes can be dug this time of year.  Replant enough tubers to have a harvest for next year.  If your winters are extremely cold, I would suggest a covering of old hay or straw.

After harvesting a long 50 foot row of Jerusalem Artichokes this past fall, keeping enough to replant, the rest were taken to market.  Jerusalem Artichokes are one of the first vegetables to break ground in the spring, but not this year.  Apparently there WAS a well fed gopher that  munched on the tubers all winter.  Snug underground he found that by digging along in a straight line he would have plenty of food for the winter.
With spring well underway, I will not be ordering roots from a gardening catalog, or begging starts from a neighbor because they do not transplant as well after the stems are over 6-8 inches.  I will be off to the grocery store to buy several bags of the 
"Sunchoke" tubers you can purchase in the produce section.  Sometimes in the spring they are a little harder to find, but generally they are available.  This method also works in the fall.

Freshly dug Tubers

Late in the fall the flowers will fade and the stalks will lose all their leaves and turn brown.  After several hard frost the tubers are ready to dig.  I generally dig enough to replant for the next season and the remaining are dug out as needed.  "This way they maintain their crispness.  Sunchokes will stay crisp in your fridge for only about 3-4-weeks.  Place bales of hay over your tubers that have been left in the ground.  This will keep the ground from freezing and allow for longer harvests.  

When they are mature, the tops will die back.

When the stalks have turned brown and become brittle is the time to dig.

 I replant the smaller tubers in the same spot and harvest the larger ones for market.

I prefer to eat these raw, thinly sliced in a salad, or lightly sauteed in a stir fry.  Try grating them and frying them on a hot cast iron skillet like hash browns.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Every Year I keep a journal of my Garden.  Sometimes it is an elaborate book filled with seed packets, the weather documented, how and when plants were harvest, etc. etc.

 This year, I glued an old painting that had a whole torn in it, onto a journal cover.

A piece of garden twine keeps the pages in.

Draw simple plans of the area so you have a record of what was planted, enabling you to keep track of crop rotation from year to year.

Make notes of the wonderful surprises you find.

Simple drawing, newspaper articles, seed packets. and pictures drawn by your children are easily glued onto a page.

Add pictures of crops you grew.  Record the planting date, how productive they were and make a note of any additional information that can help in the following years.

Keeping a garden journal and recording important information will help you have a better, more productive garden the following year!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A walk around the yard

After a long morning of weeding the garden, I needed a break. 
 I wandered around the yard with my camera and snapped a few pictures.

All work (and a little play) around this place.

A fancy, old glass chandelier hanging in the GARDEN SHED

Beautiful beet leaves just the right size for a salad.

Rain caught in small copper cups from a Tea-set I had inadvertently left outside sitting in a tiny child's  metal shopping cart.

Happy Marigolds planted along the walk-way.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Gather a variety of veges from your garden.
I have beans, peas, carrots, radish pods, peas, broccoli, green tomatoes, and peppers.
Wash well.

Use the vinegar brine from purchased pickle jars, or your use your own favorite brine recipe. Simply add your vegetables and put in the refrigerator for several weeks.  To hurry the process along, add heated brine.  Keep refrigerated and use within a reasonable amount of time.

I haven't tried radishes before so I made a jar using this beautiful watermelon radish.

I generally eat these pickles after they have marinated in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Take a look at what I have been up to this summer.  No wonder my garden is full of weeds.  Even though I enjoy pulling weeds, this project has been more fun.

Sold a few of my antiques to buy this antique.  Look at those classic lines!!!

The old door has been repaired several times, but it adds character.

It came with many dents and dings, but I guess we all have a few of those don't we.

Woops, I wonder who was driving when this happened? (it wasn't us) We will be adding new skin to several places and replacing the entire underbelly.  It will take some work, but the end result will be amazing!

Spent several days gutting out the interior.

We took it on our yearly river trip to Wyoming.  We certainly had a lot of fingers pointed and people laughing, but they just couldn't imagine what it looked like on the inside.  I think I will put a sign on the back that says,


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Veges I will have at Market/CSA deliveries

Been busier than a hill of ants around here.  Up and down the road.  Running around like a chicken with.......well to be politically correct, I guess I shouldn't finish that cliche.  I promised pictures of the garden when I got the weeding caught up....... that's not going to happen so I just snapped a few pictures anyway.  Here is a list of the items in the CSA delivery and what I will have at market this week.


patty pan
yellow gold
peas, sugar snap and shell
beans, green, yellow wax and purple
lettuce, red, mesclum mix
cabbage, green, purple
carrots in all colors
beets, cylinder, red, choiggia, golden

I still have a few shares available.  Please contact me at market if interested.

Will have beans available, but the potatoes will be a few weeks yet.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Remember when you were little and you would "run away" from home, but as soon as you got hungry, cold, and night set in, you could be found back in your own bed?  Well, hubby and I ran away for a couple of weeks.  As adults we call this a vacation, but I hang on to my childish notion of running away.  That is why I guess ANDREW HENRY'S MEADOW  has always been my favorite  book.  I look for it in every second-hand store I enter.  I have been collecting enough of the first edition copies to give to each of my children so that their children will know the proper way to
" run away. "
Stopping in junk stores and flea markets along the route is my idea of a great vacation.  We stopped in a little thrift store somewhere in Colorado, I don't remember what town we were in.  As we were checking out I suddenly realized I had not looked through the children's books.  I took the change from our purchase and quickly found the book aisle while my
 husband went out to the car to wait.
 As I rounded the corner my eye caught a glimpse of a bright green cover.
 Could it be?


I hid it under the other books purchased and said to my husband as I climbed into the vehicle.  "Guess what I found."  He replied, "ANDREW HENRY'S MEADOW".
"How did you know?" I asked.
"By the grin on your face".  He replied.
Yep, needless to say it made my day-----week!!!!

I also found another copy of
Barbara Kingsolver's   ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE
My dog-eared copy of this book is down at the farm.  Now I have one in both locations.
see what other unique things I found along the way.


I also found this book about Georgia O'Keefe, an artist I have always admired.  I read it aloud as we traveled along.  We even made a loop out of the way to drive by her house in New Mexico.  Hopefully next trip down I will be able to catch a tour.  I was unaware that you must schedule ahead of time through the museum in Santa Fe, and only a hand full of people are allowed to participate at a time.  Make reservations before you go!

When we got home the gardens were completely over run with weeds.  The water timers had worked great and kept everything alive!  As soon as I find the plants I will post pictures.