Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday morning has arrived.  Company is coming and we are doing dinner today.

I spent yesterday cleaning the fridge......a two hour job.  I vow to never let it get in that shape again.  I dismantled all shelves and supports so I feel I got a good job last.

I made my overnight refrigerator rolls and they are in the fridge.  I will take them out around 10 AM.  I also made a requested pecan pie and this morning made  an apple  pie (also requested).  The turkey will go in the oven as soon as the pie comes out.

I put together a large fruit salad this morning too. 

 I know I said I wouldn't decorate but I couldn't resist this little 3 foot $10 tree pre-lit at Wal Mart yesterday.  I had it in the back of my mind but didn't think anything would be left this late.  I used my decorations and skirt so it was a simple and inexpensive way to bring a little Christmas back.

The weather continues very mild but very windy....don't like the wind.

I cheated and made some Christmas cookies for Isabel (GD)

I better call this a post and get busy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

At long last I am ready to end my blogging break.....

Just to catch up.  We did go to St. Louis as planned and had a very good visit with the grandkids for three days.
We came home Sunday December 18.  Now at this point I had no decorations up for Christmas since we had expected a New Year's visit from our daughter and her family.  Two days after getting home DH got very sick with an intestinal virus thing that just knocked him out for two days....just as he was getting a little better, it hit me.....hard!  I was sick for 4 days.  For 9 days we didn't get off the farm.......about two days ago I began feeling more normal but just a little weak.  Today I feel back to my norm.  This was the first time we have been sick in probably 30 or more years!  I think this is a new virus

I even milked this morning.  I am happy to report we had Willow's milk stored for about 10 days and it stayed beautifully sweet and good the entire time.  I was pleased about that; it tells me I am being very sanitary processing the milk.

The weather here today is beautiful with a breeze and beautiful sunshine.  I think we are supposed to be up to 60° by the weekend.

We still aren't sure about holiday plans.  I do know I don't plan to put up decorations for just one day....even though there will be some disappointment I know.  I will decorate the dining room and put the gifts on the table and try to make it look somewhat Christmasy.  I am hoping I can handle a turkey dinner.....I take rest breaks every hour or so.

 I made our favorite pound cake today.  I got the recipe from Allrecipes and it is called Gina's Poundcake.
It is unique in the way it is baked starting in a cold oven.
From Blog photos

I will freeze this if no company appears....
I have also made a batch of sugar cookies I will bake at the last minute and decorate ....  or freeze.

I also made a batch of Honey Oat Bran Bread.  We were out and I like having extra on hand for company.

An unexpected  Gift:

I was at my MIL's the other day and I spotted this quilt on top of some discard boxes in her garage.  I asked her where she got is from her MIL and used to be red and white but faded like this when she laundered it. She had it on the trash pick up stuff....she asked if I wanted it and I told her yes!  It is 100% hand made.  I laid it on the dining room table before putting it away and like the way it looked it now rests.

She told me she has others......I haven't seen them yet.

This is enough catching up.   I have been trying to read and respond to everyone's blogs and hope I haven't missed anyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Break Time

I have been taking a blogging break; some things  to  do for MIL and doing some extra farm things.

Be back soon.

I will leave you with one picture of Willow and her two babies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shopping Trip to the Mall

Yesterday was just a beautiful sunshiny day.  It was cold, but no wind and the sun shone all day long which has been rare lately.

It was my planned trip to the Mall with my 93 year-old MIL to pick out a bedspread for our bedroom for my Christmas present.  I was dreading it....first I hate shopping and I hate people spending money on me.

We headed into Macy's first because she has a credit card there and lots of coupons for deep discounts.  I don't have a Macy's card... We looked  at everything and I saw only one that jumped out at me.  It was in deep jewel tones...I thought it was way too pricey even on sale so I  moved away from it....even though she kept saying what pretty colors it was.  Then the saleswoman hit us.  I asked for help in selecting one and after a few questions, guess where she took us?  Of course right back to that expensive one (I smell commission in here  somewhere). I just told them both that I thought it was way too expensive. My MIL said that was what a gift was all about and she wanted me to have the one I wanted.....even insisted so I finally caved and just said Thank You.  She said she loves buying things for us and she can afford to.  I hope she is right.

I tried to get a good picture of it but the colors didn't turn out as well because of the west sun shining through the blinds but it will give you an idea of it.  My garishly yellow walls even seem toned down by the new bedding.  I will change them but won't have to be in a rush.

The reverse side is the stripe like the bedskirt.  The wonderful thing is we slept under it and it doesn't slip off the bed like previous ones  have and it is very light yet warm.  I am happy.

We stopped by the store and I bought some baking supplies and we picked up lunch from the deli and went home.  After lunch, I was defragmenting her hard drive and we were visiting in the family room.  She got up to do something in the kitchen and when she came back somehow she trip coming around the recliner and fell hard and hit her back on the edge of the lamp table. I couldn't catch her in time.  It just made me sick.  She had to lay there for a bit and then couldn't get up without turning away from the chair and crawling back to the seat....still didn't have the strength to get up so this old farm gal who has hefted 50-lb bags for feed for 40 years clasped her under her arms and joined my hands in front of her chest and lifted her up enough to get her into the chair.  It  was just about the limit I could lift.  She has been talking about getting one of those call button  thingies to wear and  I told her now is the time.  It just made me so sad that our wonderful day had to end that way.  I checked with her last night and she was doing OK.  She will be so sore this morning.

I told DH that you don't realize how frail (not in size!) that she is until you see her fall and realize she can't get up.  It was a shock.  She is a like me in that it doesn't take much for her to get off balance and fall.  Mine is just a dizziness thing that I have most days so that I watch where I get myself but hers is just a sort of lightness on her feet like she isn't really attached to the ground.  I know I have gone on and on here and you may skip this one but I wanted it documented for my kids and me to remember.

Now if this Christmas present wasn't enough for both of us and it was, she called later and said to be here Friday because DH's present was coming.....bless her heart I think she is getting satellite TV for her TV addicted son.  We had it once and were both too stingy to keep paying for it for it.  It makes me feel slightly ashamed.

I have always know I was blessed in the in-law department and now you know too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coconut Oil Biscuits

Up at 3 AM.  It was 20°,  it never got above freezing yesterday so some snow is left on the ground.  The roads are clear.

I have been anxious to try the coconut flavored and scented new oil.  Last night I made buttermilk pancakes and there is a definite very light taste of coconut.  We didn't think it was offensive and DH thought if you didn't tell anyone, they would never notice it.  I know my two kids.....they would.  Our daughter doesn't like anything coconut so I won't be using it when she is visiting.  I will be using it for waffles or pancakes for us.

I didn't really want biscuits again this morning but my curiosity got the best of me.  I made sausage biscuits.  We can taste a faint hint of coconut in them too.  Once again not  bad.  I will probably continue using it for us.  It has zero trans fats and zero cholesterol if you follow that nutritional thing.  I am not sure I do, but still.....I think of DH's heart attack and do watch the cholesterol thing for him.  I made  the biscuits larger and one was our limit.  I left him watching them while I  computed.....they almost got too brown. He is like his mother in cooking, if I tell him so many minutes, then that is what he does. He doesn't check....she doesn't either. 

These are just my regular recipe only using 1/2 cup coconut oil (3 cups flour).  I think I could cut it to 1/3 cup and will try that next time.

This is shopping day,so I will be doing minimal housekeeping before leaving.

I have been laying out cooking supplies to take to St.Louis with me.  They want gingerbread cookies so I am taking my spices.  No sense in them buying a bunch of expensive things that they may never use again.  I am looking for a small plastic case with a handle to take my chef's supplies with me when I travel.  I plan to take cookie cutters, food colorings, and my yeast.  I better print off a couple of recipes too.  I  see beignets in our future.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Snow

Monday, December 5, 2011

Well, the cold front has arrived.  It is 27° here this morning.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had our roast beef dinner with DH's Mom and it tasted wonderful!  We hadn't had beef in some time....I served beef (ala crockpot), cooked potatoes, carrots and onions in a separate pan on the range, seasoned with beef broth, garlic and onion powder.  Salad was cranberries (from Thanksgiving and home-made applesauce), roast beef gravy and rolls.  We had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Two things of note:  I tried a new recipe from the Kitchen Aid cookbook for a sweet yeast dough for the rolls using 3 eggs. I got enough for a muffin pan of 12 rolls and a pie plate of cinnamon rolls.  It is a good recipe.

Second, I will never buy GV (Wal Mart's Brand) of heavy whipping cream again.  It has several additives and I had to whip it forever and it still didn't have the consistency that I was  rather slick.  I don't think I could have made butter with it if I had whipped it all day long.....I need to  check other brands (like Hiland, our local processor) and see what they have added.  Drat Willow for keeping her cream.

We sent home a plate of all things for her dinner today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2011

We have our first little snow this morning.  The windchill was 11° (and it was milking morning).

This was taken standing on the milk parlor porch,looking to the house. 

I milk inside a barn and it really just takes me about 20 minutes to milk so I never suffer from cold and I could turn on a heater or the overhead furnace if  I needed to.

Willow was down about 1/2gallon in milk,not surprising with the cold.

The new coconut oil came today and it does smell like coconut and there is a light taste.  I will be using it for breakfast in the morning just to see if that carries over into the food...will let you know. 

I made pizza for lunch and this time just let the dough for the crust raise about 30 was still very crispy which is how we like it.  Of course, I baked it on the pizza stone at 500° and it cooked in about 10 minutes.

Tomorrow I am going shopping with my MIL.  She wants me to pick out a new spread for our bedroom for Christmas...I am not a shopper and don't do well shopping with interesting to see how that goes. I sound ungrateful but I am not.....I am just shopping challenged!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Biscuits, Cookies and Gardening

For once the weatherman got it exactly right!  He predicted rain early, clearing and sunny and then afternoon rain.
I had cornered DH into helping me pull dead plants from he veggie garden so when the rains stopped I got ready to go out.  I saw a truck pull into the was the fencing man we have been waiting on for several weeks.....there went my garden help!

I have always gardened unassisted so I headed out.  It didn't take much over an hour to pull up all the vegetation on the west side of the garden.  I did leave the row of Lutz beets.  They love the cool weather and the tops are gorgeous.  I pulled a couple to chop for the cow this interesting to see if she will eat them.

I stacked the dead plants in a sort of windrow on the north side of the garden and  will let them compost in situ.
I then used my new ergonomic, arthritis foundation recommended pruners by Fiskar to clean up the 40 foot garden fence.  This meant cutting large woody stalks of poke, KMOTGG that look like bamboo stalks, some roses and some volunteer tomatoes.  I also pruned about 4 clematis.  I am happy to report they worked like a dream!  My left wrist stays tender even on the Prednisone and I worried about problems at all.
I am a happy gardener and they were cheaper than Felcos at around $28.

I still have the east end corn patch to do and will use the loppers (new also) on that area.  The first nice, dry day I get, I will till the area.  I also need to stick some cloves of garlic in.  I am late with that and probably don't even need any but will do it anyway.

Today is roast beef dinner day.  I put the roast in the crock pot with a package of onion soup mix *(and yes you can make your own) and it should be ready around noon.  I have settled on the hot milk sponge cake and will make rolls later.  I love cooking with the crock pot!

This morning I made biscuits again using W-M's coconut oil and once again we like the texture better than lard.  Here is how they turned out:

I set another quart of buttermilk since I was down to a cup left in the jar.

Yesterday morning I made Cinnamon Ginger cookies.  We both miss having a mid-morning snack with our coffee.  I made them with the coconut oil too.  They turned out well. 

From Food

My sis from Iowa called (her husband was at a gun show) and we had a long talk about books.  Our tastes aren't exactly the same but close.  She has Kindle and is loving it.  I have a local library and am loving it! and mine is cheaper......

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Geese are on the Move

I woke up at 2 AM to a gently falling rain.  We had the window open and there is a metal awning over that back porch.  It makes a wonderful sound when it rains.  It has been raining off and off ever since.  I got up at 4 AM.

I doubt I will get any outside work done today even though it will be our last warm day for a while.....time will tell.
I would like to pull the tomatoes off the strawberry gardening mistake of the year.

The Farmer's Daughter had a wonderful picture yesterday of the geese migrating and it reminded us that we hadn't seen any so far.  When DH went out yesterday evening to do chores, he called me and said go outside and look up.  There were l00's of geese moving southeast. Some were in formation and others in a straight line.  We love to watch them and hear them each year.

It was hard to get a good picture without using the contrast edit because the sky was so dark and cloudy.


I did milk and she gave me a full 2 gallons and I saw traces  on her hips so I do believe she will have a calf approximately 9 months from now, actually around September 9.  I will watch her beginning around 20 days from now.  We just left the bull in the field with her...

We have been out of beef for some time.  I may have mentioned that my dear (greedy) husband did not cut out two for home use when he sold calves last time! Well I found a beautiful rolled chuck roast in the meat freezer yesterday and I almost got giddy.  I do miss my beef!  I will be having his Mom out for Sunday roast beef dinner.  I think Sundays are her loneliest days of the  week.  I haven't decided on dessert yet.  Either my white cake or Ilene's Hot Milk Sponge cake with  frozen strawberries.

38° here this morning.  More rain is moving in later.  I plan to try to squeeze in some more garden pull up tomato plants off the strawberry row.  I may not have any strawberries left.

I originally wrote this November 30 so I will have to check  to see if all is pertinent.

I have been reading my real food book by Nina Planck again and the article about coconut oil jumped out at me again.  I have been using Louana's brand from Wal Mart and knew it wouldn't be the best quality.  Minor research led me no where on it.  I decided to find the best alternative at the cheapest price I could.  I ended up on Amazon (how did I live before Amazon?) and found Nutiva Organic Extra-Virgin on sale.
I paid $46.86 for 108 ounces or .433 per oz.  It is made from fresh coconut, cold processed and unrefined.  The only worrisome thing is it smells and tastes like coconut...don't know how that will be in biscuits....I will soon know. It will be delivered in 6 days.


I wasn't as happy with the second recipe for Oatmeal Bread.  It tastes very good but is a heavier, denser bread.  I won't post the recipe.  It was in my Joy of Cooking book listed as Oat Bread Cockaigne.

My next test will be Hodgson Mills Oat Bran  bread using their hot oat bran cereal...I finally remembered to buy some.

DIY Detergent

I made up a full-size batch of the laundry detergent yesterday.  I used the box grater and then decided to see how fine I could get it with the food processor.  Here is the result:

I was short the second bar of Fels Naptha so I used an equal amount of my homemade and very strong lye soap and it grates like very fine interesting to see if it would work as well as FN.

Farm News

Usually I breed Willow back after her second heat after calving but this year I decided to give her more rest and time the calf to be born after the worst heat of summer.  I hate the  flies of summer.

When I milked day before yesterday, she was way down in her milk and I thought  she might be coming into heat.  Sure enough  I heard her bellowing when I went out to plant the bulbs. DH said the young bull was running the fence next to her area.  We walked down and turned him in to her.  It is so funny to watch their ritual.  Lots of sniffing, her wanting to mount him, him circling her.....I finally got bored and left them to what they do best without an audience.....I am hoping to see signs on her this morning.  You cattle people will know what I am referring to.

Here is their  first encounter, note his head in sniffing mode:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Check the November 30 Date Post

I posted this this morning and it kept the November 30th date and I can't figure how to change the date to this morning....I did some follow up things so thought I would let you know where to find the darned thing!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Busy Day

We are slightly warmer here this morning, 35°.

Yesterday was filled with some necessary errands.  These are not my favorite days...

We delayed starting until after lunch.  I made a squash soup trying to use up my canned Long Island Cheese Squash.  It was very tasty.  I just sauteed some onion, yellow and green bell pepper in butter and olive oil.  Tossed in a pinch of red pepper flakes, added the quart of pumpkin, a pinch of tumeric, salt and pepper and a couple of cups of chicken stock.  At the last I added some heavy cream and heated it all up.  DH didn't rave about it, but he did eat a bowl.  I may sneak leftovers into a meal too.

I had a return to make way out to the mall; DH needed houseslippers and we wanted to stop by his Mom's to visit a little.  We also took her a dozen eggs.  We got the slippers on sale at Penneys about half what I had paid for his last pair pays to shop a little which is not my area of expertise.  The return went smoothly and I also found a pair of dressy trousers for me for out trip to St. Louis.  I will attend a play with the two granddaughters for a night out with mother event and felt my jeans might not be appropriate!  Funny how everything is now  a discount store!  Why don't they just call them that and not show the prices as big sale items.....oh well, the bottom line is what counts for me.

MIL is doing quite well and says she does not mind being alone and told us it is the first time she has been alone on her own since she was about 17  and she is now 93!  Secretly I think she is liking having the immaculate house and not having to worry about meals for anyone.  Her refrigerator has maybe 4 items in it!
She is living on heating up prepared foods and instant things.  No muss, no fuss and very little clean-up.

We had to rehang a mirror for her that had dropped down on a shelf.  It was so heavy I can't believe it didn't break. 

We were supposed to stop by the local store, but DH was tired and said he would shop when he goes in to exercise this morning......just his banana fix.  I may have him pick up a couple of whole fryers that were on sale.  Have you noticed everyone has chicken on sale now....wonder how they determine to do that?

I am happy to report I went out this afternoon and planted my bulb order!  The soil was so nice and moist the digging was very easy.  I filled a whiskey barrel with blue hyacinths and white tulips.  Next spring we will move it down to the house with the lift on the tractor.  I want it where we can enjoy it sitting on the porch.  The rest were alliums, Tete a Tete and Kokopelli jonquils and some white muscari.  Should have lots of fragrance around the back porch area with them.    It will be fun to see something new next spring.

Lunch doesn't photograph well but we thought it was very tasty.  I had turkey broth from the carcass that I hadn't frozen yet so I boiled it down  by about half and made egg noodles.  I tossed in another vacuum sealed packed of turkey with some sauteed onions and had peas and my favorite winter salad of iceberg lettuce with Miracle Whip (yes, I am a redneck!)  Mom always had that and I have rediscovered it lately.