Sunday, February 27, 2011

A warm Day - Cinnamon & Ginger Cookies

46° this morning but possibility of severe weather.

I found a good use for my leftover green whey. I used it in biscuits this morning with a little added milk to make up the l cup. DH said they were the best! He always says that when it is something he likes.

Out to the barn to milk at 8 AM. She was a little antsy but nothing severe so I milked her out completely. I stored the strained milk in the Milk Barn refrigerator and then went to the potting shed in the back and seeded 2 6-paks of broccoli seeds. I know I put seeds in this time. We will see how they do. The earlier ones didn't come up....not even one seed!

I made some Cinnamon Ginger Cookies this morning. I haven't made them in quite a while. I got the recipe from my Sis way back in the '70's.

Cinnamon – Ginger Cookies Preheat Oven to 375°

A crisp cookie similar to a ginger snap, but not as strong flavored.

This is one time you do not want to use butter.....too much liquid in the butter

Cream together:

¾ cup shortening
l cup sugar

Add and mix well:

l egg
¼ cup honey

Mix together and add:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Mix well; form into l inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture

Place about 2 inches apart because they will spread out.

Bake on ungreased sheet for 12-15 minutes.

For lunch I made sauce for pasta from a quart of frozen San Marzano tomatoes, small can of tomato paste with onions and garlic and some sliced smoked sausage. I still don't like the texture of frozen tomatoes....won't be doing that again. Dessert was the above cookies.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rhubarb Pie and Yogurt

Yesterday was another very cool and dreary day.

I got all my ingredients together to make yogurt. This was a first time for me. The only thing I had to buy was the Dannon yogurt for a starter. I think I could have used my cultured buttermilk. There is a difference between just clabbered milk, aka buttermilk made at home and cultured buttermilk which uses a culture which I believe is the same as the Dannon yogurt....need to research that one more. I followed the directions on the following website.

I was surprised by how easy and how fast it went, not counting the 7-hour culturing period.

Here is how it looked when I removed the cover after 7 hours:

The texture isn't like the little cups you buy with fruit; it isn't smooth and silky but it is exactly like the Dannon plain I bought. I actually like the taste of mine better than Dannon. Of course we are completely in love with Willow's milk.
This photo will show the texture:

and here is how I enjoyed a dish this morning:

I made a cherry pie filling from my frozen cherries and let it cool completely. Cherries are supposed to be very good for various bone and joint disorders so here is a better way for me to get them than eating cherry pie daily!

Of course I did have a pie of pie! I made a rhubarb pie from my stash of rhubarb that my sis brings me. I have two bags left. I sure hope my rhubarb plant made it through our awful winter!

I make mine without eggs....just rhubarb, sugar and flour. It made a pretty thin pie; I need to buy a smaller pie dish.

I am giving up on my broccoli seeds was last year's seed so should have been good. I might not have put any seeds in the container? I have done that before..........will do another today. May just have to buy some plants since I am getting close on time.

Note: I am adding another label for just cooking where no recipes are listed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Warning: I tried to get all my recipes labeled and have a Recipe link on my side bar. In doing so, I may have got some dates on posts wrong as I labeled and re-posted each one. Just be aware that is is still cold here and the day is February 25. I still say they should teach Blogging classes.

Thursday, February 24:

46° at 3:30 this morning.....I decided to milk. I pick my best days! All went well. I am keeping back ½ gallon to make yogurt tomorrow.

We are getting wonderful rain.....and it isn't finished. We are still short 2.22 inches for the year even with the snow melt. We can almost hear the pasture growing!

I decided to run in to the local market while DH did his exercise. All I planned to get was Dannon plain yogurt. It is one of the few yogurts that only have the culture and milk, no additives. I wanted it to seed my new yogurt. Then I can just use my own yogurt as the starter. I hit the jackpot on sales: various cheeses $1.00 off from regular (I bought Colby, Monterey jack and mozzarella, chicken breasts and legs on sale, frozen peas and a package of baby green lima beans.

The rain was coming down so hard and fast that I waded over an inch on the parking lot and it is on a slope.

We splurged on breakfast today. We had hash browns, an egg, two strips of bacon and a slice of whole wheat toast.

Lunch was warmed up turkey pot pie and wilted lettuce....dessert was 2 cookies.

Supper is just a light snack for both of us...I might even have a dish of his granola. (I did).

We got 2 inches of rain and are just delighted!

Happy Random Picture

These times are a comingPhotobucket!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Granola Recipe

I tried to find it using the search feature and couldn't so here it is:

Max's Favorite Granola

4 cups oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup nuts
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
dried fruit – l cup

Mix all. Spread on sheet cake pan. Bake at 300° about 40 minutes. Stir every 20 minutes or so.

I need to take Blog lessons on how to organize things so they are easier to find.
I thought I should change the photo to reflect what things are looking like now. Even the fields have greened up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011:

Just did routine house work and then decided to go to the park and walk while DH did his exercise.
It was 31° and pretty breezy, but I made it around the walking track. The park is very small and open with streets on both sides so I feel safe walking there alone. I hadn't done that for a while and began to wonder if I would make it. It is just a 25 minute walk!

I went by the library to return some books and then picked DH up and we went home.

I spent most of he afternoon reading.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011. 35° at 4 AM but warmed up as soon as the sun was up. I should have milked.

I made peanut butter cookies for DH. I can't vary the recipe; it has to be the one out of the old BH&H cookbook.


While the oven was still warm, I made granola again; he is keeping me busy making this.


Back during the holidays I cooked a cheap brand of turkey and thought it was too tough so just froze the deboned bird and the carcass. Yesterday I got out the carcass added seasoning and about a cup of chopped celery and water and cooked it for a couple of hours. I also got out the turkey breast and thawed it and diced it. I had two bags of frozen homemade biscuits in the freezer. I made a huge pot of turkey pie. There is still some dark meat for soup left.

We will be eating it for some time! It was very good if I do say so myself.

Random picture

I put a suet cake out on the tree stump and the birds found it.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It was 46° at 4 AM, but dropped down to 38° by 10 AM.
A light drizzle was falling.

I decided to milk again so I could set a gallon of milk to clabber, I am getting hungry for cottage cheese. I added a cup of my buttermilk to get things started sooner.

A friend from another forum talked about making me thinking that I should try that too.
I may have to start milking more often.

I toured the yard to see what was happening and took a few pictures.

This is right outside the back door....can it be that I am actually going to finally get a bloom? I will be watching it closely. I bought this from the Master Gardener's sale several years ago and it just sits there! I thought they were supposed to spread....
helleborus orientalis
From plants outside late February
Several lamiums are coming back,

and the new Annabelle
lilac is budded out

The shastas, white hesperis are up about 3 inches.
,and the lavender in the cistern planter by the back door is still with us. The cats have been laying on top of it recently so I wondered if it would survive,

There are clumps here and there of daffodils.
The lamium with the daffs came from a hanging basket I had above them a couple of years ago. I don't know if it was dropped seeds or a piece of the plant.

Two things I noticed about the oak trees on the west side of the house:
The Pin Oak and the Swamp Oak do no drop their leaves....the Red Oak does.
This is the young Swamp Oak, also bought at the Master Gardener's Sale.

I didn't tour the east yard where the cellar and grass beds are.

Back inside and I put on a pot of Great Northern beans for dinner. The plan is to have them with biscuits and some greens. I also boiled 10 eggs and will make some into deviled eggs.

5 eggs again today.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The cool front is arriving; supposed to be in the 20's tonight.

Sunday, February 20. A nice, warm day.

I made cinnamon rolls very early in the morning....another great recipe from Joy of Cooking.

After breakfast I went out to the potting shed (backside of Milk Barn) and potted up more seeds. I think I am pretty well caught up for now.

This area is in the back of the Milk Barn It is about 30 feet long and the pit area which is actually ground level is pretty narrow. The platform where the cows stood is along the north wall. I use it for stacking potting supplies, sprayers, etc. This building has lights, running hot and cold water and best of all drains in the floors for cleanup. The overhead furnace is still in place, but I haven't used it in a long time.

I recently cleaned this side of the barn. I do plan to get three large garbage cans for storing the various soils.

This picture was taken standing near the east wall looking to the west door.

From Potting shed/milk barn
and this is the sink end. There are also hot and cold spigots on the east wall that is where I fill my buckets of potting soil and mix for potting; I use hot water.

and this fuzzy picture is the platform that I use as a shelf for supplies....I can't get far enough away to take a good long shot.

From Potting shed/milk barn

I am keeping all the seeds out there in boxes stored on the plastic shelves, but won't leave them there permanently because of the moisture.

The only negative about having this area out here is that it is quite a walk back to the lights on the back porch to carry flats once filled. I have often used the riding mower with the garden cart attached....or DH if I can rope him into it.

5 eggs yesterday.

Random Picture: Favorite Shrub

From Annabelle Bed

This is the "Annabelle Bed". The shrub is hydrangea aborescens Annabelle. This is the east side of the old chicken house. There are three clematis growing here. I love this easy-care shrub.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Working in the barn - Some pruning

We are still in the warm period. It was almost 60° in the wee hours this morning.
Around 1 AM a light rain began. Don't know yet if it was measurable.

I had an extremely blah day yesterday. Let's hope today is better.

Plans for the Day (optimistic here)

Milk cow
Finish cleaning Milk Barn
Plant some more lettuce seed
Tidy the house
Take care of chickens (got 5 eggs yesterday), turn them outside and water them
Pick up limbs from the yard (blasted Elm trees)
Tidy garden shed (where I keep the tiller and other gardening tools....have DH get it up and running.
Sharpen hoes.

If I get half these done, it will beat yesterday.

I have spent the early part of the morning reading blogs and articles about various greenhouses. I still have my pvc gh ends and the base boards. I should begin with those and then ad lib using what I have on hand. I got some good ideas on various sites. DH was less than enthusiastic but I will just use him for the grunt work.......

Well back to finish up yesterday's blog. It is now Saturday morning 4:45 AM, 56°.

I had a productive day yesterday but didn't follow my list too closely. I did milk and that went well so I milked her out.

I stayed out in the barn without coming back to the house. I began work on cleaning the back side of the barn where we milked the cows. This is now my 'potting shed'.Midway through the cleaning, I got side-tracked by a seedling Osage Orange tree brushing the roof line. I went out back and decided to do some tree cutting and pruning before finishing the cleaning job.

Of course, this required getting the saw, dragging the drop cord from the old barn across the barn lot the the trees....just barely enough cord to reach. Had to make a minor adjustment to the old barn door so I could open the hallway section where I plug in the drop cord. I want to show the clever fasteners used in this old barn...will do that later.

Mission accomplished. DH will do the clean up later. We have a huge brush pile back on the farm which we leave for the critters to hide in.

I hope to be able to pile some old wasted hay back where the trees were to keep down the weeds and especially poke that got 15 feet tall last year.
The other side of the ramp is the apricot tree. I did some pruning here too. I hated to remove all the low growing limbs because if I am lucky enough to get a crop, they are so easy to pick. I did remove some though.

I turned the chickens out and fed them some scratch and kitchen scraps. We got 7 eggs.
From Chickens
This is my favorite hen, a Black Australorp.
It was very windy.
From Chickens
then I was able the catch the wind blowing in the right direction to show her in all her finery:
From Chickens

We are out of bread so I will be in the kitchen this morning.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Potting Soil - Fragrant Roses - and other minutiae

Up at 4 AM to 51°.

I was going to milk this morning but DH called me from the barn to tell me “somehow” the calves were with Willow. I can't milk tomorrow; I have an appointment for my hair at 8 AM....will be milking Friday morning Lord willing.

I thought I would head out to the milk barn to begin the cleaning project while DH did his exercise, but saw that I was going to get filthy. I wanted to run in town and pick up my potting and germination soil this morning so I quit and came in and vacuumed instead.

We stopped first at Lowe's for some zip-ties. My bird-house pole has been held together with those for a few years now and suddenly last week I spotted the house and half the pole laying on the ground. I hope it is redeemable.

Next we headed across town to Hummert's for the soil. I bought a large bag of Fafard's germination mix and one of Fafard's No. 2 mix. I also bought 8 oz of Bodacious sweet corn seeds. They will have strawberry plants in by mid-March so I will just buy locally instead of paying $11 for 9.00 worth of plants. She mentioned several varieties that I am familiar with and have grown before.

I forgot to mention while checking Lowe's for soil I saw they had a few roses in already! I found the the two fragrant hybrid teas I have on my list: Mr. Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial. They also had another old fragrant floribunda, Gene Boerner. All three were No.l quality and potted. They were just $9 which is a very good price (again no shipping costs).

I won't plant them for a while yet.

Then we stopped by our local market, Murfins, and I got the Orville Redenbacher popcorn for eating. I will also use it for planting on advice of Larry who does a garden blog called Larry's Weed Free Garden. I also picked up “1 or 2” other items!

Home and we were starved so I did a very quick burger and oven fries using Yukon Golds.

Ilene on her blog, The Rock Whisperer, did a good post today on seed starting and mentioned looking up plants on Dave's Garden website. I would like to put a plug in for Missouri's Botanical Gardens site also.

Kemper Plant Finder

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ordered Onion Plants - Lunch in town - cleaned up seed inventory

42° at 3 AM this morning.

I ordered my onion plants from Dixondale Farms, 3 bunches of Candy and 2 of Super Star. Intermediate varieties work so much better for us in our area.

I will try to plant more varieties of lettuce later this afternoon after we get back from the in-laws. Well that didn't happen, we were late and I wasn't up to more work.

I did spend a couple of hours this morning sorting seed and filing the packs by when to plant and how to plant.
I also labeled each seed packet with the expiration date for viability. Now when they are expired, I will pitch them. I found several I knew were way too old so they went into the trash too.

The only thing I need to buy is sweet corn seed and popcorn seed.

We went in to the In-laws for lunch. She fixed a hamburger pie. It was a recipe I had given her way back in the '60's. I think it was from Home Ec Class. The base is hamburger, onions, cream of tomato soup, seasonings, green beans or any veggie you like. The top is mashed potatoes with an egg beaten in. All is then baked. I will be looking up my recipe and making it again for us.

I made a stop and picked up some Lime Away for the shower doors and stopped by the garden store and was shocked to see it sign on the door; nothing at all. When I got home I called their number and they have moved. We drove very close by it on our way to the closed store! I want to pick up a bale of professional seed starting mix. It should last me at least two years.

Watered the chickens and gathered 6 more eggs. I think I will give them some freedom tomorrow. Part of the chicken yard has melted.

Random Bird Picture

I hope I haven't posted this before; I was too tired to check.

First Gardening of 2011 - Favorite Clematis Picture

42° this morning at 3 AM! What a change.

Well, I lost another post yesterday! I previewed it, published it and find this morning nada!

I will just cover everything here on Sunday morning.

Saturday it was 24° at 4 AM.

The only productive thing I did was completely dismantle our shower doors and clean them. The only thing dirty was the bottom of the doors and the bottom of the track.
It required DH's help with taking them down and putting them back up. I used Oxy-clean, then comet, then white vinegar and a tooth bruch and a scrub brush. I didn't get everything pristine but they sure are better than they were. Our plumber, electrician, carpenter/contractor didn't use the grout that is mold/mildew resistant and so I have black under the clear caulking that I can't get rid of. It makes me want to just pull the shower out and do a new one......but I won't. I have also considered just removing the doors, filling in holes and hanging a shower curtain. I absolutely hate shower doors.

I vow to do this at least once a month now.

Chickens blessed us with 7 eggs! A real record for this winter.

Sunday, February 13

Temperature 42° at 4 AM

I milked this morning....not fully because, once again, she got very antsy, I took 1.25 gallons.

After lunch, I finally did the very first gardening of the year!

I planted under the lights on the back porch the following:

Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Late Flat Dutch cabbage, Premium Crop broccoli,
Asian Red Lettuce

Ornamentals: Johnny Jump-ups, red snaps and a mix; Vinca Cora deep lavender (they backordered my white ones)

I cover the trays with clear plastic and place under the lights in my grow-light plant stand on the back porch.
I gave a small fortune for it way back maybe 10-15 years ago, but it was cheaper than a greenhouse and it requires no extra heat. It holds 12 regular size growing flats which just about takes care of my plant needs.
Each fixture holds four 48-inch long bulbs. The back porch is the coolest room in the house. If I need bottom heat for germination, I just place the flat on top of a light fixture until they come up and then under the lights. Each light fixture is movable so I can lower it right to the top of the flat or up pretty high as the plants grow.

I still would like a simple hoop house for transplants to harden them off or growing on.

I will start warm season things like tomatoes and peppers in about a month or so. I like tomato plants just at 6 weeks before moving into the garden.

Miracle Grow Potting Soil: I don't like it at all....especially for seed starting. I had a small amount of my good finer mix so I filled the flats with MG first and the topped it with the finer mix before planting the seeds. I think MG would be fine for potting soil for plants in baskets or transplants but it has way too many big pieces, sticks, etc. for fine seed.

I have a bag of jiffy pots that I lost last year....found way too late....and can't remember where I put the darned things....another search is on. I use them for things that don't like to be transplanted.

I have a big job waiting for me next....clean up my potting area in the barn....and the milk room area where I process the milk and store things....all are seriously out of control.

I won't get much done today......we are going in to the In-laws for DH's belated birthday lunch.

Did I mention I found another stash of seeds in the barn! I won't have to buy cucumber seeds for the rest of my life.

Here is the list I found: Spaghetti squash, Kandy Korn sweet corn, cucs Cross Country Hybrid, Wisconsin Pickling, Boston Pickling, 3 packages of various sunflower seeds (never been opened), 3 packs of zinnias , a few Haricot Vert beans, a pack of saved Queen of Siam basil seeds, and a pack of Black Beauty Zuchini.

Random Pictures

Huldine on garden fence

This is my favorite clematis. It is slightly smaller flowered but is disease free and blooms over a much longer period. Huldine is just a perfect clematis. It is a a type 3, which means you just cut it down to about 2 feet each spring.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Braving the stores at last- Made in USA Socks

Friday was another very cold morning, 6° when we got up.

We decided to make a grocery run since our road out front was perfectly clear. We also do not like to shop on Saturdays. The streets were all clear and the stores were definitely not crowded. DH did just part of his chores so we could get an early start, another thing we like to do.

For years we have worn Gold Toe Socks and loved them and they wore well. For several years they didn't advertise online and often the stores would be out of them. We were both needing socks....W-M's just were not lasting and I was completely dissatisfied with mine. I did another internet search for Gold Toes and found they are now listed as made in USA and 'imported'. That did it. I found a website that lists all socks made in USA and found Wigwams....added plus our local farm supply Race Brothers carried them!

Our first stop was: Race Brothers.

They did have a big selection and I bought us a bag of 7 pairs each. When we checked out, the clerk said "Oh, you will just love these socks!" Turns out she has been wearing this brand for a long time. She asked us to let her know the next time in if we like them too. I thought that was a good recommendation.

They are made in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Then on to Wal Mart for the main grocery shopping. I would rather shop our local Murfins, but we no longer get their ads and they are not online. I told the manager he was loosing a lot of business by not having ads readily available. Supposedly they are working on a website...that was over a year ago. I love the smaller store but can't afford to buy most paper and laundry products there. So when we are ready for a lot of that kind of products we hit W-M. We save $5 a box on tide alone.

We did stop by Murfins on the way home. I don't buy fresh produce from W-M's. It is usually so sorry looking in our store. Murfins produce department is just beautiful.

Here is what I noticed in the two weeks since we were shopping: Prices have gone up dramatically!

Bacon was $5.98 a pound, some on sale with Murfins points but since I have not shopped my main groceries there for some time, I hadn't accumulated enough.

Chickens, whole. ranged from $8.75 each up to almost $12 for a fryer. My poor Mom is probably rolling over in her grave at that.

Toilet paper has gone up from $6.97 to over $11 and DH swears the rolls are smaller.

As always, I think of people with a houseful of kids and having to feed them with these outrageous prices.

Supposedly everything is based on shortage of corn last year and higher cost of fuel. Trust me, ethanol was a sorry thing to happen to us. Good only for grain growers and they are making a great deal money on this one. I won't get into the economics of all this, but the above plus the world demand for grain and the value of the American dollar has caused this food price increase which couldn't have come at a worse time for American families that are living on unemployment or just not finding work at all and living on welfare, to say nothing of families living on minimum wage or low-wage jobs since so many of our better paying jobs have left the USA. This is my rant for the month.

One reason bread is so costly (learn to make it yourself!) is that many wheat farmers are now growing corn....because the price is so much better than wheat. You can't blame the farmer. When you run a business the goal is to make a profit.

Now is the best time in recent history to grow as much food as you can and to learn to cook from scratch and to eat simply. I was raised on beans and cornbread, macaroni and tomatoes and fried potatoes. It is still one of my favorite meals.

This little shopping expedition led me to two conclusions:

1. We will be growing chickens for the freezer come spring.
2. We will be converting our very large dog pen around the base of a huge old Elm
tree to a pig pen. I hope to find two feeder pigs in the spring

I will keep records on all costs and see if it will be a money saving project.
One thing I know for sure is the resulting meat will taste much better. I will have to market one pig....maybe, maybe not.

I am dragging DH into this, especially the pigs, without much enthusiasm. I plan to do the feeding so he can't complain about extra chores. He will come around...........More to follow, I hope.

Before anyone complains about how can I kill those little animals let me remind you I am a farm gal.....and it will not bother me. They won't be pets they will be food in its original state.

I finished the day by taking care of the chickens. I gave then hen scratch, no warm mash this time and fresh water. They gave me 5 eggs.

Random Flower Picture

Jacob Cline Monarda

Jacob Cline Monarda

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yesterday was another cold one and we got another 2 inches of snow.

It was DH's annual visit to the cardiologist. By the time we get ready and drive the 45 minutes in, kill the 30 minutes to l hour in the office and come back home, we are both worn out.

It is a good thing though, once you have had a heart attack, to really keep up on all appointments and tests. We also scheduled a stress test on the treadmill for April.
It has been two years since he had one. I feel he is a little short of breath after doing most activities. I hope it is just the cold or my imagination, but will feel better after the test. We will have to wait a few days for the cholesterol test results.

This is a good opportunity to tell everyone to be very proactive with regards to your health and dealing with doctors and test labs.

For example: They don't routinely schedule the stress test unless it is much longer between than his two years. If I hadn't asked about it, it wouldn't have been scheduled.

Also I asked about the blood work....she rechecked the computer and said yes, it had been scheduled on the last visit. So we went down one floor to the lab, and they said the order had they called and got it approved again.

You just have to be on your toes and ask questions.

We probably should have canceled the appointment since we had received another two inches of snow and it was beginning to snow when we left at 8:00AM....we didn't. The roads were covered and very slick in spots and the traffic was horrendous. We sat through a couple of stop lights because of backed up vehicles. We made it fine and even stopped by his folks to see how they were doing. They didn't need any supplies brought in and her housekeeper finally showed up the day before so all is well there.

By the time we got home, DH (who had to fast) was starved. I just did a quick warm-up of beans, made cole slaw, fried potatoes with onions and did a hamburger patty. I had made a pumpkin pie the day whipped cream. and he had a regular pie and I had sliver. I have a goal of loosing weight this year...a must.
Prednisone did not help me in this.

I made myself bundle up and go out and do the chickens, mixed them some warm mash and watered them. They gave me 4 very clean eggs, so I was happy.

Then I refilled all the bird feeders since I knew our overnight temperatures were going to be so low.

They were chirping and flying to the feeders before I would leave them. I think they were very happy to see me.....all feeders were completely empty.

The sun is shining brightly; we will have to wear sunglasses when we go out.

Random Bird Picture

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yesterday was a little warmer than today.

I milked but Willow was very antsy because we had left the two calves with her for a couple of days....she didn't like us removing them, so I just milked half and let her calf nurse.

That means I will have to milk more often if I can't break her of this.

The rest of the day was just my routine.

I did make an apple cobbler for dinner. It is so easy with the fruit and crust frozen and waiting. I hope I don't run out of apples, but know I will.

Today is running just below freezing; the birdbath had completely thawed yesterday but is solid again today.

DH filled my tree feeder for me so I haven't gone outside except to help him unload wood onto the back porch.

Speaking of wood, I love wood heat. There is just nothing to compare.

The house came with an old Ashley wood circulator. This was before the invention of catalytic converters and I am glad! It isn't a pretty thing, but it works beautifully well. It will hold a fire all night with just 2 or 3 sticks. It is lined with firebricks and that holds heat extremely well. We just shut it down at night by turning the damper off and the next morning the living room is toasty warm and we just open the damper and add wood.
We haven't been burning wood much for several years, probably since 2004 when some remodeling interrupted the air flow and the kitchen gets too cold without the furnace.
I am wracking my brain about how we can burn wood full time with the furnace just for backup I do have a wood flue in the kitchen but don't think I can squeeze one in....I am thinking a wall mounted very small gas heater.

The stove has some stain down the front that I could never get off but I have now discovered a spray-on heat proof paint that I used on the frame of the wall heater in the bathroom and I believe I could use it here.

From wood stove

The people we bought the farm from were very familiar with wood heat and when they added on the living room,they allowed for that....the back door is very near the stove and he laid marble down from the door to just past the stove. The brick wall is made from slave bricks from his FIL's house just down the road. Remember Missouri was a slave state before the Civil War and a few folks had some. I believe the story is the clay is from somewhere on the farm too. The wall is about 18 inches thick and there is a clean out door outside at the base of the chimney.

I wish he had made the door and the porch wider but he didn't.

DH rigged a carryall on the front end of the tractor to move the wood from the wood shed across the drive to the back porch...quite a distance for a wheel barrow.
He can back right up to the porch and hand me the first level and he finishes up. That faces north and it was very windy and cold back there.

I put on a pot of brown beans this morning and finished them off on top of the wood stove. I could have cooked them there, but just wasn't thinking. I made egg noodles, wilted lettuce and cornbread. He got the last of the apple cobbler.

Random Bird Picture

Tame ones this time; they are enjoying their warm mash.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Doughnuts - Meatloaf and another Day of Shoveling

We woke up to a much warmer morning, 24° but two more inches of snow.

This is DH's 73rd birthday so I thought he deserved something more than oatmeal (his usual) breakfast.
We had biscuits, sausage and eggs and always a glass of milk. I think some strawberry jam found its way into the menu too.

Dinner will be meatloaf (made yesterday), a baked Yukon Gold potato and a salad of lettuce, avocado, mandarin oranges and onion rings.

No special dessert because I made doughnuts yesterday.

Our evening meal is just a 'to-each-his-own affair'.

DH collected the eggs yesterday evening and they set a record, 6!

More snow removal with the tractor and me following up with the shovel. We can now get to the wood shed and I can replenish bird feeders without wading l8 inches of snow. We count our blessings.
More snow is predicted which doesn't thrill us.

I tried another Joy of Cooking recipe yesterday, doughnuts. It is a super recipe. I now have three different recipes for doughnuts, all good, but this may be our favorite. I tried the chocolate glaze recipe and it was a disaster, the chocolate seized! I reread the recipe realized that I had used unsweetened chocolate squares instead of the semi-sweet or bittersweet. That may have been the problem.....I will still be nervous to waste all that chocolate again. I just made my usual icing with very little butter and made it thinner. It worked fine and got hard which I wanted.

Here is the recipe (from Joy of Cooking)

Cake Doughnuts (about 18 – I got 20)

Whisk together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed:

4 cups AP flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon or l teaspoon grated lemon zest
Opt: ¾ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg (I would use both next time)

In a large bowl beat well

2 eggs

Add slowly and beat until thick and creamy

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

On low speed add and beat until blended

¾ cup milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Note: I also added 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix with a large spoon just until blended.
Note: I finally found a use for my Swedish dough hook

The dough will be soft and sticky. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24.
Note: I left in the bowl and sealed it in plastic wrap.

Flour board, roll out about 1/2 inch thick, cut out, fry.

I fried mine just under a minute per side, golden brown, in three inches of oil at 375°. I used a thermometer in a pan of oil on top of the range this time. I don't think my electric pan was getting hot enough. You have to really monitor the oil or it gets too hot, but it worked great.

Drain on paper towels. I dipped some in sugar, left some plain (DH's favs) and glazed 6.

The meatloaf was a 'no recipe' one....just my normal, eggs, salt and pepper, minced onion, and bread crumbs. I did use l lb hamburger and my last pound of ground pork.
The difference was I added about a 1 cup of my homemade salsa. My sister told me she always made hers using salsa. We thought it was very good.

I have used a pound of sausage mixed in with the hamburger and that is quite good too.

Random Picture

This was taken during our second bout of snow late yesterday afternoon. Most of the other feeders were empty so they "flocked" to the kitchen window one.

Friday, February 4, 2011

13° this morning! What an improvement.

Just a couple more pictures of the snow and then I think I will just move on.........
From snowstorm of 2011
This is the west yard, in pristine condition. I have to admit the snow is beautiful, but does have its drawbacks:
From snowstorm of 2011

I think the birds heard the weather forecast! They were in a feeding frenzy right after I filled the feeders yesterday evening. I just couldn't get the entire scene with my camera.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I lost another post! I think I will just start doing a draft on Open Office Writer. It absolutely said saved at 7:26 AM this morning.

We got very cold last night but it wasn't quite as bad as predicted. We were -9° at day break.

Well I did get most of the shoveling done yesterday. I first dug a path of 6 feet out to the bladed drive from the patio. Then slogged through drifts to get to the generator which wasn't too bad. The wind had blown it away from the housing so I just swept the vents clean.

Next was down the bladed drive over to the chicken house. I had to dig a 10 foot path to the gate and then the real work began. I dug through 24 inch drifts to the hen house, one small scoop at a time. There was no pushing that much snow. I did get rewarded by another 5 eggs. I watered the chickens and put down fresh straw in the nest boxes and scattered some over the outside pen area.

At least I got a dozen eggs this week:

I was amazed by the amount of snow leading into the calf pen where I milk. The length of the concrete walk (about 10 feet) was over three feet deep! I knew I would never last to complete that job last night. I did manage about 1/3 of it before giving up. I wanted to shut the pen gate so the other calves wouldn't wander in and make more of a mess inside the barn...I finally just dropped down to my knees to crawl to the pen and pulled myself up to get into the pen proper....locked the gate and then crawled back out! I can imagine what I looked like. I had snow from my waist down.

The Interior House

My living room is the strangest shaped thing and there is no good way to arrange it but I keep trying!
Everything is off center....I decided to move things around (again) all by my lonesome. DH gets annoyed every time I do it so I catch him outside and just do it myself. I still don't like it, but it is a change. The plus is I vacuum everything that hasn't been touched in a while. I got him a new swing-arm floor lamp for now I am lamp poor. My daughter will just tell me again that if I add something, to get rid of something. For me that means hauling it out to the shop/garage.


I got a Joy of Cooking cookbook for Christmas and am slowly trying out recipes in it. I haven't had a bad one yet.

For a few years I have been making bagels by another recipe but it calls for almost twice as much flour and I don't want to run out before the roads are safe so I did the one from Joy of Cooking. It is a smaller recipe and seemed a simpler least I didn't have the usual mess.

Here they are after rising the second time (very short times):

and after the boiling a baking process:

We had to test one and I am happy to report it was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside. I don't think they are quite as tough and chewy as the other recipe which I like too.

I made these much larger so a half one with cream cheese will be wonderful for breakfast.

Just finished some shoveling and reloaded all the bird feeders. We are supposed to be down to zero again tonight.

More to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lost Yesterday's Post!

Here, I thought I had all the kinks worked out.....and found to my surprise this morning that yesterday's post did not follow the new header pictures.

There is no way I can recreate it.

It was just written late in the day after the snow had stopped. We ended up with about 15 inches of the fluffy white stuff. No really bad wind. The temperature did drop as predicted and we got down to 5° this morning at daybreak.

When I did the chickens around 4 PM yesterday, I had to wade drifts 24 inches deep, and we can't get into the chicken yard with the tractor so that snow was 12-15 inches deep. They did reward me with three eggs!

I plan to do some shoveling today. DH said the generator vents were blocked so I will clear those first. I won't let him touch a snow shovel. It is one of the things the doctors warned him about and also to do nothing strenuous in high heat or cold. I will just do it in short spurts once I figure how to cover my face.

We stayed in most of the day except for routine chores.

The birds flocked to the feeders all day long. DH had to refill the black oil sunflower one out on the tree. I need to clean out some of the feeder holes on them this morning. They refuse to peck through the snow to get the seeds.

Biscuit refuses to come inside but he has lots of good places deep in straw to bed down and the vet told us he has a double layer of fur because he is part retriever.
He followed me around as I took care of the chickens, going to the feed room and then inside the Milk Parlor to mix the warm mash for them. He sat outside the chicken yard waiting for me.

I took this photo to try to show the whiteout conditions of early in the day yesterday.
and this is the drift around the cistern planter on the patio by the back door,

I will post the recipe for the Lemon Meringue requested:

From Joy of Cooking:

Bake pie shell, reduce oven to 325° and leave on for meringue.

Combine in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan:

1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Gradually blend in until smooth,

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

add, blending well

3 egg yolks, well beaten


2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Stirring constantly add

1-1/2 cups boiling water.

Bring to a full boil, stirring gently. Once it begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer l minute. Remove from heat and stir in

l teaspoon lemon zest

Pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue. Bake at 325° until lightly browned.

Here is the end result:
From Food