Friday, August 31, 2012

Thank you Isaac!

I woke up this morning at 4 AM to the sound of very light rain is now coming down much heavier.  So far, it is a nice steady rain and  no wind.  What a blessing.

I am sorry that our joy is at the expense of those poor people hit by the heart  of  the hurricane both  flooding and tornadoes.  I know our Convoy of Hope people are in the area already.  Their main warehouse is in Springfield, our nearby largest city.

I am so sorry to hear that Oklahoma isn't going to get any of this.  The system went too far east.  For a long time we were afraid it would miss us too.  We are on the west side of the thing.  I know the east side gets  the heaviest rains.

We will treasure every single drop.  Our area well  diggers are so far behind  they will never catch up. It broke my heart to see farmers telling how their ponds were dry and so was their well!

It has been a couple of hard years for farmers in the Midwest.

I called my Iowa sis and BIL at 5:30, knowing she would still be asleep but hoping he would be up.
He calls me regularly very early because he knows our early morning habits.  I woke them up!  That's OK; she called me at 5 yesterday having had a sleepless night.  She even had  a pot of tomatoes on the stove getting ready to can.

I am posting this picture  just because I like the contrast of the bright dry corn and the dark sky.  Garden cleanup is not quite finished.  This rain  will help.  I will be able  to mow and till without being choked by dust.

and here is a picture of the girls,  I haven't shared one lately.  They are still giving us way too many eggs.  DH thinks we need to cut back to just 8.  I know he is right.  The beasties must have heard us talking because one old hen died and a raccoon got another one!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 14-25

These clouds actually brought us some rain for a change....just 1/2 inch but wonderful!

We have a chance of more over the next two days so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
Looks like our friends in Florida are getting more than their share.  I hope  it is just rain and not the hurricane force winds.

The last  11 days have been filled with normal daily things.  I didn't blog but went back to my daily written journal.

The one thing that stands out is I finally made myself have my eyes checked (after 4 years) and got  new glasses that correct my vision up to 20/20.  I am cataract surgery or glaucoma.   My poor Sis has one eye that is so bad they don't even try to correct the vision in it.  I feel guilty when I talk about mine but she assures me that she is thrilled for me.  She reminds me that  I have arthritic problems that she does not have....she's be best!


The big news here is I am finally getting blooms on my pole beans and even see a tiny bean!  Maybe my persistent watering is going to pay off.

These are the Dutch White Half Runners.  They bloomed a week ahead of the Cherokee Trail of Tears and are the ones with the tiny bean.  A friend gave me the seed two years ago and this will be my first test.  Last year was a flop too.

I have two rows of the Trail of Tears and they are looking promising,

I am bragging here:   I cleaned most of all the beds of tall weeds and tree saplings!  This was a horrific job using the electric chain saw, dragging the weeds to a central location.  I even had a couple of l0 foot trees.  I will start of the rest of the back garden next week.I now have the option of just mowing the areas and not having iris, dayliliies and the odd herb and perennial if I feel I need to.....and right now that is how I am feeling.  I hope next week to finish the job in the back garden area (the berry patch).  I also have a huge kolreuteria/Golden Rain Tree sapling that grew out of my lilacs and it must go.  It has a 6 inch diameter trunk but is in an easy place to get to.


The only thing above normal is made  the cream cheese danish recipe again.  We love it and it makes 4 so I can put the leftovers in the freezer.

I may have already posted the recipe will do it again.  *(I need to organize this blasted blog....maybe this winter).

Cream Cheese Danish Coffee Cake
Source: Home Cooking Magazine

1 c sour cream
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1 t. salt
2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 t.)
1/2 c warm water
2 eggs beaten
4 c all purpose flour

Over low heat in a small saucepan, heat butter, sour cream , sugar and salt until warm and sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix sour cream mixture with yeast and add beaten eggs and flour. Will be a very soft dough. Put in fridge overnite to rise. ( May be done same day. Put in fridge for about 2 to 4 hours, and then proceed. )

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 6 or 7 times. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece out to 12 X 8 inches. Spread 1/4 of filling on to each piece and roll jellyroll style from long side. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place seam side down on buttered baking sheet and cut X's in top. (About 6 X's) (Danish should be slightly flatten, and about 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide and about 12 inches long.

Cover and let rise until about double in size - approximately 1 hour Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Let cool on wire racks,

2 packages 8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
1 egg beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt

Filling: To make filling beat together cream cheese with sugar, add egg and vanilla extract and salt.

2 1/2 c confectioners sugar
1/4 c milk
1 t. vanilla extract
toasted sliced almonds.

Combine the first 3 ingredients for glaze and drizzle over loaves with toasted almonds.

The other thing I did was try out Ilene and Diane's  recipe for Amish Cookies.  We really like them a lot.

I wish I had remembered to try the chopped pecans because they truly do taste like pecan sandies.  I have been looking for a cookie with this texture for a long time.  Thank you ladies!

Here are mine:

They posted a link to the original recipe location.  These are certainly worth adding to your cookie recipe collection.  I added a touch of lemon to mine....wouldn't do that if I were using the pecans.

It's sprinkling again!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I was out early and set the sprinkler at the end of the porch.  It is 55° out and feels glorious.  Rains missed us again with another slight change Thursday and Friday.

I will water the backyard garden today too.

I have my tomatoes scalded and cooling.  While they are cooking I will make bread again. I feel like I am missing one in the freezer but it is going to be a cool day for baking so I am doing it.

Wednesday, 8/15/12

Well I got some of the things done but not others.  I didn't water the backyard garden.

I did get bread made and canned 5 pints of tomatoes.  I have another tray on the porch ripening more.

See the bottle of vitamin C?  I crush couple of tablets for the bread.  It is a good yeast activator.  I also add 1 teaspoon or less of ground ginger for the same reason.  This is to a 12 cup flour recipe.

I wish I could have taken a picture of the entire kitchen to show the messiness of my working kitchen!  Here is part of it.  Tomatoes on the left in maslin pan, pan on the right for scalding jars and the lids and rings on the counter.

At the same time on the kitchen table was my floured board from making up the 4 loaves of bread.

Eggs on the countertop waiting to be cleaned and put in carton,

This was such a busy day, I pulled my frozen pizza from the freezer; upped the oven temperature and lunch was done......

Plans today are to water  the garden and do some more trimming.  The day will be hotter, 90° so I will quite pretty early.

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Garden Cart - More Peppers and Tomatoes

This has been a lovely overcast and cool day.....out of the blue.  Even the weather forecasters were surprised.....still no additional rain.

I went out around 7:30 and hooked up the new garden cart!  DH finally made a special run to Wal Mart to get it.  We have been twice now and forgotten it.  The other currently is filled with  garden waste (corn nubbins) I am feeding slowly to the chickens.

I filled the cart twice with clippings from the honeysuckle on the porch steps and from the bed around the foundation.  I have also started cleaning the hummingbird bed outside the kitchen.

The ground is very dry again.  I have misplaced two sprinkler heads....the only one remaining available is in the chicken pen.  I guess I will have go  get it to begin watering.

I trim mowed around the front yard again.  My front yard is so narrow, I realized it wouldn't take much to keep it all nice and green.  As it is, over half is watered when I use the sprinkler on the shrub border.

I harvested more tomatoes from the orchard row and more peppers from the backyard garden.

I have noticed the red cheese peppers are not shaped like the ridges.  That is a few in the front of the tub.  They look like small tomatoes.  I don't know if that is normal or not.

The morning glories have sprouted rampantly around the sweet potatoes so I will mow that tomorrow and then till again.

I came in around 10 AM and put on a pot of white beans with a package of ham pieces I had in the freezer.  We will have cornbread and beans for lunch.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Yes, hard to believe, but we got another rain just two days since the last one.  We got 3/4 of an inch and it was wonderful!

I caught some quick pictures with my little Canon.

This is taken from the dining room porch,

and this one out the back door looking to the driveway,

I feel a change in the early morning air.......

Yesterday was one of my least favorite kind.  Shopping.  We made a Wal Mart run since we were needing some odd things our local store doesn't carry.  By the time we have circled the Super Center, we are both bushed.  I then hit the local Dillon's to buy King Arthur Flour (25 lbs this time).  Hopefully, I won't have to go again for a long time. I also loaded up  on multi-grain pastas.

I tried three new things this time.  I bought my first jar of Nutella.  I know I am years behind but this is the first time I have seen it on shelves.  I had it spread on home-made 10 grain toast with a glass of milk for breakfast.  It is tasty but I doubt I will buy it again.

I was out of honey so I studied the selections more carefully and this time chose a large jar of 'raw' honey.  Makes me wonder is it all heated or refined unless it says raw?  I need to research that.  It tastes very good but with a slightly different taste than what we are used to.  I use honey in my breads so I use a lot of it.

Then, I splurged and bought a whole fryer that wasn't Tyson.  It was from some farm and is what I would call organic but it wasn't labeled as such.  Just listed, all real grains, no by products, range grown, no hormones or antibiotics.  I am frying it today.  We will decide if it tastes better.  We have been getting some very tasty chicken from Tyson lately.  I am not sure if I will pay double for this new one.
Time to join DH on the porch swing in this lovely, cool and dark morning.  He just made fresh coffee and poured me a cup.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peppers and Sweet Potatoes

Since last post, we have had rain.....just slightly over1/2 inch but it was wonderful!  We also got severe lightening which was not so wonderful.

It fried my router and did some kind of Directv damage to just the living room set.  After spending the miserable hour with a flashlight and following their netpicking directions trying to correct the problems, to no avail,I might add we are having a service person out this morning.........our cost, of course.  When Christmas rolls around I hope DH can guide his mother in another direction!

I was off the internet from Sunday until yesterday evening.  New router programmed and hooked up now so all is working.

Weather is slightly cooler but supposed to be back to 100° today so we will be checking the water situation.


Flowerlady mentioning pizza sent me over the edge.  I  had been wanting one but didn't want the oven on.....I gave in and just shut up the kitchen and open the window above the range to vent.  It was worth the hot oven and I have one in the freezer now.  My recipe for crust is for 2.

I made pepperoni this time.


I had DH go to the garden with me to hold back the plants so I could show my peppers.  It is the only bragging rights I have now.

These, I think, are the Serranos,

and the one California Wonder Bell Pepper,

The rest are the cheese peppers, yellow, red and green,

and this is the sweet potato row.....hope it is not all foliage!

Garden plans today are to check for moisture and beetles.  The rain washed off the spray and the beetles are opportunists......

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Door

We have it installed are are liking it very much.  I still haven't painted the trim around it.  My trim is all  eggshell and the door is white.......what to do; what  to do.  I sure don't want to paint all the trim in the room and will probably just do the door facing in the present color.

It is now Friday morning; weather news is not good; over 100° today and l06° tomorrow.  I went out early and watered the pole beans (probably a lost  cause) and the strawberry row.  DH is watering the rest of the orchard trees.

Not much planned for today unless I decide to make a Wal  Mart  run.  Knowing me, I will put it off until next  Monday.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I have been on another vacation from blogging.....back now.

Nothing has changed with our weather.  It has just been more of the same.  We finished the driest July on record and the third hottest July. Records which I could have easily skipped.  The difference today is we are having quite a breeze.

We are still watering some things,the trees in the orchard where I can see new leaves developing; the tomatoes, the peppers and sweet potatoes and the strawberry row.

I try to hit the berry patch now and then and we have watered some trees in the yard.  We turn the sprinkler on the chicken yard twice a day too.

My tomatoes are not ripening very fast and are not setting new fruit.   My neighbor has given me enough from her early garden so that I have canned 8 pints.  I baked her a loaf of bread.

Sweet corn was a bust so we are feeding the forage to the two heifers and the ears to the  chickens.  They are both very happy with it.  We trapped a raccoon in the garden yesterday and have relocated two box turtles.

It is hard to keep your spirits up in this kind of weather.  We are getting more and more worried about the cows.  If we start feeding hay soon, we may run out before winter is over.  I want to sell some but DH is holding on......I will bow to his judgment.

My days are filled with routine mundane things, cleaning,  cooking, baking and, of course, reading.


I have recently doubled my bread recipe from two loaves to 4.  My oven is large and can hold 4-loaf pans on one shelf.  It seemed wasteful to have that oven on without using it to its full capacity.  Also my new KA mixer can handle it.  I also decided to just use the highest quality flour I could buy.  I decided on King Arthur which I can get at our Dillon's (Kroger) Stores.  It is slightly less expensive than Hogsden Mills flours.  The result has been much higher rise with the breads and it has been consistent.  I am a believer now!  Even DH has noticed the difference.

This is the 10 grain one:

and even though I wasn't out of bread, I made just the simple whole wheat (light on white wheat because I didn't have enough)recipe so I could give a loaf to our neighbor as a thank you for the tomatoes she had given me.  I made one loaf into buns and had two for the freezer.  Hers was already wrapped and not in the picture.