Thin Air Farmer

Preparing Machines

Heather ColwellMy family has the red tractor fever. If it is red and says Farmall on it, they have to have it. My husband and son had been watching a Farmall 560 sit in the weeds on a stretch of back road for several years. Finally, they couldn't take it anymore and stopped to talk to the farmer that owned it. It would not start on its own and had been losing power so he had given up on it and there it sat. So they made an offer and with the encouragement of the farmer's wife (who I think was tired of looking at the tractor just sitting there), the farmer accepted. The next weekend they took truck and trailer to the farm and loaded it up and brought it home.

While in the house, I heard some loud engine noise. Upon looking out the kitchen window, I saw my son on a streak of red under a cloud of smoke. He was rapidly driving the 560 across the backyard into the hayfield next door! They had dragged the 560 around the yard until she started, unhooked it, and then gave it a test drive. It needed a new water pump, new fluids, and a bit of a tune up! It is still a work in progress as it needs new glowplugs, some of the tin is missing, the seat is in need of repair, and a few other minor details. But she now starts on her own on a warm day and she has a name. Her name is Old Smokey.

She fits right in with the rest of the family. We have a Farmall H that was my grandfather's tractor, a Farmall Super H that was my husband's grandfather's tractor, a Farmall M, a Farmall 300, and a Farmall 400. We also have a Massey Colt that was sold by my husband's family at their Massey dealership, that was bought and brought back into the family. It would be great to get them all lined up and take a photo of them now in their work clothes. And hopefully we can restore them back to original condition someday and take another group picture!


Photo by Fotolia/Helmi

What to Do With All of Those Eggs?

Heather ColwellThe hens are busy laying eggs. While, I do sell some eggs (basically I get donations to put toward my feed so I get my eggs for free) I currently have a lot of extra eggs. This means I rely on my old standby recipe that uses a lot of eggs and makes a delicious meal. I turn to my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for their spinach quiche recipe. This makes a great dinner or lunch main course. I often add a fruit bowl on the side or some grilled vegetables.

Spinach Quiche
Yields 6 to 8 servings.

1 pie shell
1/2 cups chopped onion
6 slices bacon, chopped
8 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg, optional
3 cups lightly packed chopped spinach
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Place pie shell into pie plate. Double line the unpricked pie crust with aluminum foil. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 4 to 5 more minutes. Until the pastry is dry and set. Remove from oven and reduced oven temp to 325 F.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels.

  3. In a medium size bowl beat eggs, slightly with a fork. Stir in sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in onion, bacon, spinach and cheeses.

  4. Pour egg mixture into the hot pastry shell. Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. It may be necessary to cover the edge of the crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Beautiful brown eggs.

Corn Coming Out of My Ears

Heather ColwellThe moment gardeners wait for – and dread – has finally arrived! The sweet corn is ripe. Nothing beats the taste of corn on the cob. This year I have been removing the silk and most of the outer husks, soaking the ears in water and then grilling them. A little butter, salt and pepper and you have a delicacy. But, you can only eat so much corn in a day, so that means the extra needs to be preserved. So far I have been blanching, cutting off the corn kernels and freezing them. I think at last count I have 45 quart bags in the freezer and that has barely made a dent in what is in the garden. So, I think today I will do more freezing and also can some corn relish.

 corn relish
Corn Relish

The goats love all the cast-off husks. As soon as I head toward the garden they are at the fence impatiently waiting for a treat. The chickens also enjoy cleaning off what is left behind by my kitchen knife. Once corn season is over I will have to empty all the cobs from the chicken yard and put them out in the compost pile. That way we will have compost for the garden so we can grow more corn in the years to come.

Corn Relish

Yields about 6 pints

2 quarts cut cooked corn (about 18 ears)
1 quart chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet green peppers (about 2 small)
1 cup chopped sweet red peppers (about 2 small)
1 to 2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 quart vinegar
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process for 15 minutes in boiling-water canner.

*This recipe came from Ball: Blue Book of Preserving

We eat this on hot dogs, sausages, or burgers. You can also eat it with corn chips as well.

Does anyone have any other recipes for large quantities of corn? Or, other ways that they preserve corn?