Monday, May 4, 2015

Two Funny Situations

We are busy as my honeybees around here lately!  We hurry to finish the school paperwork, so we can get outside to learn in the outdoor classroom.  Spring means new critters and new plants, and boy do we have ever so much to learn!  I thought I'd share two things that have made me giggle:

Thing the first......I bought 10 blueberry bushes.  The ENTIRE experience was rather in exhausting actually because we didn't just buy most of  the bushes at the local nursery.  Oh no, we found a plant auction that was nearby.  I went with 2 kids while Big Fish took 2 kids to church workday.  Did I mention that 1 of my kids is in the midst of potty training, so there's that.  Ended up I spent 6 hours at the auction because the blueberries didn't go on the block until the end.  Oh well, I did come home with 7 bushes and scavenged 3 more at a nearby nursery. 

A few days later we had the time to put the bushes in the ground.  Wouldn't you know that after Big Fish dug 4-5 holes, and I planted 2 bushes that we decided that soil was not good in that area.  So, we hauled the 10 bushes (heavy in their 2-4 gallon pots) to ANOTHER location; I had to dig up (!) the 2 already-planted ones.  I was just thinking in my mind that if a stranger were peaking in on us they would most definitely think we were insane.  We felt insane finishing up that job too, but at least the blueberry prospects are in the ground in a place we all feel is suitable!

Thing the second.....the great baby turkey transfer.  We've had our 4 young turkeys (named Coconut, Squirrel, Soap, and Chester) in the house until a couple of days ago.  They have enough feathers to be out of the living room...yay!  We chicken-wired up a stall in our barn, and that is their new home.  We are concerned that a racoon or weasel could still get to them though.  Our solution (refer to the insane comment earlier) is to shut the turkeys INTO the racoon trap at night.  The trap is very secure; and our theory is if the trap can keep a racoon in, well it should be able to keep a racoon (or weasel or fox or whatever) out!  So, we are the people who trap our turkeys every night :)  We'll do something different as the fowl get bigger.  I'll keep you posted.

Hope you're having a great Monday wherever you are - TTFN!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Old Recipes

I almost titled this post "Odd Recipes".  My mom passed along a stack of newspaper clippings and other papers of mostly the cooking variety.  I'm sifting through the pile and collecting several yummy sounding ideas that would mainly fall under the "Christmas Cookie" heading.

But there are a few gems.  I tried to include the publications if possible in order to credit these whoppers:

1.  For part of your holiday buffet, please include a Flaming Cabbage.  "Clean a large cabbage.  Curl outer leaves back from top.  Cut out center; hollow it out about 6 in. deep.  Place a canned heat lamp in the cavity.  Place cabbage on serving plate.  Surround with frilly parsley.  Thrust wooden picks through cocktail sausages, and stick into the cabbage.  Stick an olive onto end of each (to protect fingers from flame).  Guests broil their own sausages.  From Betty Crocker's Party Calendar (January idea).

2.  The description of the Nonsweet Almond Hearts just makes me want to rush right out and make them:  "A bland cookie that appeals to those not fond of very sweet things".   From "The Cllector's Cook Book" #59.

3.  Mock Chicken Legs from the February section of Betty Crocker's Party Calender.  It involves canned spiced pork, Wheaties, canned pineapple, etc.

4.  And my personal favorite:  "SPAMwich with Cranberry".  "Cover lightly-toasted bread with sliced SPAM and dab of mustard, then a slice of cheese.  Broil 'til cheese softens.  Top with slice of jellied cranberry; broil again briefly."  From "A treasury of ideas for the Holidays" by General Mills.  Yes!  My life is incomplete.  Someone please make me a spamwich with cranberry.

I'm going to stop at this point.  Let me know if you need other holiday ideas!  TTFN

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Knitting Progress

Today's yarn/knitting update is due to motivation!  My husband's birthday is next week, and I really really wanted to get this sweater done for him.  Let's not think about the fact that I also really really wanted to get it done for his Christmas present....'kay? 

My second motivating influence is brand new yarn from Great Britain!!  I cannot wait to use it and start a cardigan project (for me), but my self-imposed limitation was to finish Big Fish's sweater first!  I'm down to about 10 centimeters on the crewneck collar and then seam up the underarms and weave in the ends.  Woohoo!!  Here's a little picture update:



This small person appeared when I had my camera out:



Joining in on the yarn along today.....also, no picture, but I'm reading a lovely book:  "The Girl of the Limberlost".

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Snippet

So many things to post that I just get overwhelmed and don't post at all.  Well, maybe I can make a dent in putting my thoughts here by just doing some little snippets. 

Looks like another blogger has been experimenting with sourdough like us....go check it out

I did some internet research and started (ha!) my own sourdough starter!  I went the easiest route and started with a flour and water mixture in a quart jar.  The jar was covered with a coffee filter in order to allow wild yeast to enter.  Well, I feel like I'm raising a little pet now that needs to be fed and kept warm.  So far our kitchen has been warm enough, and I'm happy to report that it works!

In my research, I shared with the kids how some families have maintained a starter for decades.  Well, Abigail has requested I maintain this starter for her family!  No pressure or anything....

We have made some waffles, pancakes, and two batches of bread.  My favorite so far has been the honey wheat sourdough bread - um, yum!!  The waffles were a close second.  The pancakes, well, not so much.  I really think that tasty pancakes can be made with sourdough starter; I just happened to choose a recipe that was just completely sourdough starter with some eggs.  It was too sour!  I'd blend in some milk and flour with maybe a cup of the starter to balance the tanginess.

As I feed the starter, I'm only using rye and whole wheat flours; so I really feel the health benefits in our efforts to improve our eating habits.  I'll leave you with a picture of the wonderful bread we made last week: 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Wee Bit of an Obsession

So, this is basically a knitting post.  You have been warned.

The New Year combined with cold snow and temperatures combined with Christmas money means I'm basically thinking of knitting and yarn and patterns all the time!!  I am so thankful God created sheep and silk worms.

So, I have discovered (I know, I know, where have I been) Alice Starmore.  I've heard her name several times in knitting circles, but I did not know what all the fuss is about.  Gracious sakes, part of me wishes I hadn't started to dig.  Her patterns....wow.

Thanks to a trip to the library, I started with "Aran Knitting".  Now my very own copy is on its way to my house along with a handful of her other books AND yarn from across the pond.  Look at this site!    I used up my Christmas money to buy some delicious yarn from there - Alice Starmore's site.  I cannot wait to share this journey with you.  Bear along with me?  I'm awaiting yarn for a sweater and a hat, so I'll start posting some pictures when there are actual things to show.

Other knitting adventures include starting the sleeves for my husband's sweater.  Hang on, I'll find my camera and join the yarn along today.....one sec:



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Picture of the start on the sleeve on a background of a knitted throw I started using thrift store yarn from my mom.  This thrift store yarn is vintage wool - what a find!

I would certainly be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my friend who reminded of one of my long-neglected websites for buying books.  I bought my Starmore stash from it.  Also?  I love hearing the beep of my mailman's little pickup truck because that means we have a package.  My mailman's name is Denny, and I might have scared him a bit when I ran out to give him a bar of my homemade peppermint soap - I told him maybe just give it to his wife :)

Talk soon, folks; the crockpot needs to be loaded with white wine and garlic chicken thighs for dinner.  TTFN

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Few Things

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!  I hope you have had quiet time and exciting time these past weeks.

We have had some forced quiet time, as we all went through a round of upper respiratory issues.  I think I'm the last one with a little sinus pain, but I'm on the mend.  It's been a blessing, now that the kids are a tiny bit older, to have them (for the most part!) be able to blow their own noses :)  Our little Lydia is now a 4 year old; so we have the children evenly spaced in ages for a few months:  8, 6, 4, and 2.

Lots of Christmas cookies were baked this year, and a fabulous cookie exchange was held.  One of the attendees asked about doing some kind of exchange in the summer months; there are lots of ideas around for handmade swaps.  Maybe we'll try something new in 2015!  One of the new recipes tried was pretzel shortbread cookies.  Oh boy!  With only 3 ingredients, I think you should give them a try (well, 4 ingredients if you sprinkle some chocolate chips on top).

One of my favorite days from last week was Dec. 23.  We took the kids for a jaunt to Pittsburgh.  We toured Phipps Conservatory,  walked around downtown seeing the ice skaters and the gingerbread houses displayed at PPG Place, and had dinner at the Oyster House (I believe the 2nd oldest Oyster House in the country).  The weather was mild, and we enjoyed the time together.

Christmas presents have  yet to be put away.....favorites include a jar of army men, a nerf and a marshmallow gun, a crystal growing science kit, and dress up gowns for 2 princesses!  I knitted a toy for each of my kids:  a stuffed snake, a reversible dolly that changes to a different dolly, a reversible bluebird in a nest that changes to an egg, and a market bag to carry ballet slippers. 

Now the challenge is to get the house back in order!  Our dog is shedding right now too (why would she do that now?), so the vacuum is getting a workout.  Maybe we'll wait a few more days to feel "normal", as we have New Year's Eve and Day to play.  Jon and I were discussing if we (well me actually) are even able to stay awake until midnight!!  Party animals - not sure is that is an apt description for us.  My kids, on the other hand, claim they stay awake all night every night!  Wink!

A blessed 2015 to you.....a few days early, but obviously my posts are "generously" spaced.  TTFN!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Mix

Easing into a Monday morning here after a blessed day of rest yesterday.  My Sunday school students are just adorable, and we learned yesterday of Joseph's being sold, his prison experience and God's care of him while he was in prison and later rose to power in Egypt.  My little Susanna told her brother later that the Sunday school lesson was about Jonah coming out of the hole.  So, some of the lesson stuck :)

This week is to be a big kitchen week:  roasting pumpkins (and their seeds!) for putting puree into the freezer, extracting some honey, doing something with a box of pears, and similar things.  This will be the first time using my honey extractor we bought at an auction.  It's a lovely piece - we think the extractor is from 1913 made by the Root company!  I've been taking it apart to clean it thoroughly.  Here are two recipes that are super yummy:

1.  Grits.  We eat these almost once a week!  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-Stone-Ground-Grits-241178
2.  Butternut Squash Soup.  Oh boy.  I love this!  http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/butternut-squash-and-tomato-soup#

I have very much been enjoying a "tea education" through my friend's blog.  She stumbled across this amazing tea company called Golden Tips.  Really, you should go read her handful of blog posts about how this discovery was made.  I never realized, even though I have had some nice loose-leaf teas, how ignorant I am in all-things tea!  I am eager to further explore this interesting company too.

Before I go to stir my grits I'll leave you with two more links.  This magazine looks super-duper; maybe it would be a nice gift for someone on your list?  I have been trying to find a way to make my nail polish last longer; my nails on my right hand chip so badly a few days in.  This product seems to be helping; I'm still in the testing phase!

TTFN, dear friends and readers!