Monday, July 30, 2007

Simple Savings

I have made a couple simple changes in the house to save energy and money and I thought I would share with you. First, I have been installing energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs. These use a lot less energy to put out the same amount of light and they put out less heat. They save an average of $35 over their lifetime which is 5 years. So far I am using 14 in our house. They do cost a little more than conventional bulbs. By my calculations of savings minus the extra cost over the life of the bulb I am saving approximately $500 over the life of the bulbs I'm using now and I have only switched about half of the bulbs in our house. These also use 60% less energy which cuts emissions and helps with the whole global warming thing (for those of you who believe in global warming and for those of you who don't, you are wrong, just kidding).

The other recent change I made was to install a digital programmable thermostat to replace the manual one. With these you know the exact temperature and don't have to guess based on where the little metal piece is on the temperature gauge. They are programmable so you can set the temp to change at certain times of the day. For instance, currently we have ours set to get warmer during the day when we are not home and then start cooling off around 4pm so when we get home it is cooler. You can even make it control the weekends differently because you are home and there is an override button so you can change it at any time if you want it cooler or warmer. They are pretty amazing. Anyway, they save on average $100-$150 a year which also means you are cutting your energy usage.

Whether you think global warming is real or not, these two simple things save you money and cut energy use which means I am using less electricity which is made using fossil fuels which pollutes. Just imagine if everyone made these simple changes. Here is a good website to help you reduce energy usage and save money.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Live and Learn

For those of you who keep up with us and our blog, we bought a used Toyota Corolla a while back to use as a back and forth to work car. The plan was to sell my truck and use that money to pay for the car and buy a bigger, older truck to use as a farm truck. Well, it's been a month and a half and I have not sold my truck which sucks. I really thought it would sell. I used all of our savings plus some to buy the car until we sold the truck. But, since my truck is not going to sell and I can't keep both, I have decided to sell the Corolla. I should have sold my truck first and then bought a car, that would have been the wise thing to do but you live and learn. So, if any of you know someone that needs a good car send them my way. It is a 2000 Toyota Corolla. 50,000 miles, automatic, power windows, power locks, cruise control, 35-38mpg. It is in perfect condition.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We are now getting corn from our garden. It is so sweet, it is like eating candy. Maybe I should call it candy corn.

We are also continuing to get lots of tomatoes. Yesterday, I picked my most impressive tomato I have ever grown before. It is ginormous. It is an orange colored heirloom tomato and it weighed in at just under 1.5 pounds. It is a sight to behold. We may have to eat like a watermelon.

Here it is next to my driver's license for reference.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Tonight we canned spaghetti sauce and salsa. We finally had got enough tomatoes from our garden (and we got a few from Margo's parents) to make a batch. The onions, peppers, and some of the herbs came from our garden. We had to buy garlic at the farmers market because I didn't get any planted in my garden this year. I thought I would share the canning process and recipe with you for the spaghetti sauce we make.

10 pounds tomatoes
3 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon each of basil, oregano, and italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
bottled lemon juice

Prepare pint canning jars and lids according to manufacturer recommendation

Wash tomatoes. Boil whole for 1 minute and immediately place in ice water. Remove peel, core and seeds. Blend in food processor to desired consistency (chunky or not). Place in large pot. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in skillet, add to blended tomatoes. Add rest of seasonings to pot. Simmer uncovered until desired thickness (approx 30 or so minutes)(you can also add a tablespoon of cornstarch to help thicken) stirring often. Place 1 tablespoon bottle lemon juice into each pint jar. Ladle hot sauce into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Place lid on jar and screw on lid ring until tight. Process 35 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Makes about 4 pints.

The tomatoes in ice after boiling, this process makes the skins come off easy

Tomatoes after peeling, coring, and seeds removed, before blending

Blended tomatoes and spices simmering

Jars of sauce boiling in water canner

Finished product

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I finally did it. I killed one of our goats and butchered it. I did one of the little ones (the brown one) that were born a couple months ago. I have had goat several times before but I have never butchered one myself or done a young one. It is supposed to be the best if you eat them when they are young because the meat is more tender and tastes better. I am planning on barbecuing some of it as early as this weekend. I had to have my neighbor Mark come over and help me skin and butcher it. I have not skinned enough stuff to know what I am doing. He was really good at it and very helpful. I shot it in the head and it died instantly and never saw it coming so it wasn't a cruel death for all of you that have a concerned look on your face right now. Let me know if any of you want to come try it out when I cook it up. Here is a link to the pictures of us butchering it for any of you who want to see it. Just be warned, they are very graphic. Click here to see pictures. Please don't share with any people involved with PETA. I found a place online that sells cabrito and they charge $291 for a whole kid goat butchered. By the way, goat meat is the most eaten meat in the world so all of you should come try it so you can experience what the rest of the world eats.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pickled Pickles

The garden has still been producing good so far, we have been getting lots of rain which has helped a lot. We have started getting tomatoes and okra this past week which is exciting. I am getting a plethora of cucumbers. We get about a wal-mart bag full every other day. I decided to make pickles with some of them. I have never made them before so I hope they turn out good. I have made 18 jars so far. Probably this week I will start canning spaghetti sauce and salsa.

Friday, July 06, 2007

5 Years

Holy Crap. We have been married for 5 years today. It seems like a long time looking back at all we have done and been through in the past five years. God has blessed us so much over the years. I wouldn't trade all our time together for anything and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us (children?). Thanks to all of you who have been a part of our lives and helped us along the way.
Below is a picture slideshow of us over the past five years starting with when we were dating to this year (I put them in order the best I could remember). Just click the play button on the picture below or double click it to view them bigger and in it's own window.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Harvest Time

Not a lot of excitement at the Hale Farm. I have mostly been clearing brush, which doesn't make for exciting blog posts. However, the garden has been producing pretty well for it's first year, so I thought I would post pictures of some of the veggies we have been getting. We finally got our first tomatoes (roma) a couple of days ago and the corn should be ready before to long.

Sugar Snap Peas

Green Beans

Squash and Zucchini