Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Feed Setup

We are enjoying a lovely period of warmer weather.  It got up to 50° yesterday.

We decided  to make a run for some odds and ends we were getting low on...(cat and dog food).  I called MIL and she was raring to go! 96 years old and I wish I had her enthusiasm.    We got our shopping done and ate lunch out. 

This is going to be about our revamped feed room.  Remember when I had to do chores and could not climb up into the feed bin in the loft?  Well, that  got me thinking  that there must be a better  way and there was.

The before of this room was embarrassing cluttered and filled with junk.  It took me several hours to get it to this shape:

This is standing at the front (south) door looking toward the back wall.  That door opens into the milking parlor where the cow/cows stand to be milked.  That long tube  is where we previously got the feed but when the amount of feed upstairs got down low, we would have to climb up and shovel it over to the opening at the top of the tube.  That worked good for many years but not so much now.

This is the east wall, just to show where I had to place some of the things I couldn't get rid of.  It wasn't easy move pallets with bags hydrated lime!

and now with the 3 tons of feed delivered:

The trash cans are filled with cat and dog feed and is just inside the door.  I wanted the feed farther back in the room but the truck couldn't do that. This is actually good because we can now get feed from the back side for the milk cow.

I still haven't got DH to move the feed trough over to the fence line and wire it to the steel posts so you don't have to walk inside the pen  to feed the calves.  Walking on frozen rough ground where cows have torn up the sod in wet weather isn't  easy, especially if you have a chronic dizzy problem.

One step at a time.......DH is not talking of selling the cows now.  So we will take it slowly and see how things  go.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's A Good Day

The sun is shining and it is a good day.

We heard from the stress test and the doctor said he sees no indication of further blockage since the original 'small' heart attack in 2004.  We are much relieved.  He still has to do the pulmonary function test next month which will no doubt show the results of many years of smoking, but we can manage that (I hope).  I know this has really been worrying DH and I can see a change in him already.

I have  spent two days with little nitpicking things but they had to be done.
The mixer was picked up by the serviceman who did the water heater and I received a call this morning that it was the gears and they hoped to have them replaced by later today!  Hallelujah!

I have received the portable mixer and made a very stiff batch of peanut butter cookies and it worked well.  I will say this it gives new meaning to the term 'wire' whips.  The mixer seems sturdy but the attachments seem very flimsy to me.

I believe this was originally from a 1960's era Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup shortening (not butter)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teas. Vanilla
2 beaten eggs
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups flour
2 teas. Baking soda
dash of salt.

I use this method: Cream together shortening and peanut butter; add sugars and eggs and blend well.
Dump flour and soda and salt on top and gently mix all together.

Form balls, press criss-cross on top with fork. Bake at 375° for 10 or so minutes.

I added some chocolate bits to a small portion just for me.

Note: the chocolate bits were made from some very hard fudge that I was going to toss. Instead I diced it and sealed it up. I have now used it in two batches of cookies and it works great. Sure better than wasting all those ingredients.

Funny how this is the only recipe that DH likes.....he has had others but they don't suit him.  
I  found a sewing machine  store that says they can fix my old Kenmore!  We have to take it in but she said a complete servicing and repair  would just be $70.  Keeping my fingers crossed this works out.  I was not impressed with the plastic Brothers machine.

I repaired DH's flood light.  He thought it was the bulb  so I found one online and installed it this morning.  Works like a charm.  I made one mistake I didn't take a picture of the set up before I removed the bulb and had a devil of a time putting the new one in.  It was not a simple screw in bulb!

 Here is something to think about:  It cost $70 to get the mixer fixed  (that is also what KA was going to charge plus $35 shipping), $70 for the sewing these guys get together and set rates??

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What a Way to Start 2015!

First, the weather has been very mild and pleasant.

I had to chuckle when I read Kris's blog  today.  She started 2015  with a tire problem and a washing machine problem.......

I will list our New Year issues in order:

1.  Ordered wrong blood pressure gadget; had to return it.

2.  My ancient Kenmore  sewing machine failed over Christmas while  I was trying to mend granddaughter's new  tee shirt.

3.  Ordered a cheap Brothers from Amazon; it arrived minus the bonus pack.

4.  Emailed Amazon over the weekend (obviously no one works since they did not answer  a phone request)told them all I needed was  the accessory pack.
received notice  they were replacing the order; not to return the present  order.

5.  Today received the second Brothers machine.....alas, no accessory pack.
I am returning both and will  not be reordering a Brothers!!

6.  The scariest was a letter from the IRS stating they had not received my 2013 tax return and didn't know where to credit my payment................thankfully the records were on the computer so I printed and mailed the return.  I have no idea what happened!.

My 3-year old KitchenAid Pro 600 series stand mixer quit mixing.  Motor runs but the slightest resistance causes the paddle to stop.   Have it in the shop now.  I have ordered a heavy duty portable mixer to use in the interim.  All I have is a $13 one that just hits on certain speeds after much jiggling.

8.  10-year old water heater needs replacing; doing that this evening using same above repairman.

I believe that is it!  I hope.

All else is well.  DH is  scheduled for a stress test this Thursday and a lung  function test next month.
He is feeling better and doing all outside chores.  We are keeping our fingers crossed on this one.

Since Sugar's pen has been taken over for the puppies, this is her favorite spot (note the heater)

She still roams often.  This last time was about 3.5 miles away.  She was playing with a little girl on the porch.  The Beagle was at home.  I have given up........

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Catch up Day ---- Again

We had our last sub-normal cold night last night, 4°, then normal January temperatures will settle in for a while, 30's and 20's.

The puppies have remained outside and done fine.  They have now taken over Sugar's pen and she has taken over my kitchen corner.  So far that has worked out OK.

Our granddaughter has been visiting since last Wednesday.  That worked out to our benefit since  DH has had a bad spell of shortness of breath and her BF has been coming over each morning to help with chores.  I  also got off  my lazy backside and  did the close-up chores for two days, the chickens, the penned calves and the puppies.  He really isn't supposed to be outside in very cold weather in the best of times.

Chest x-ray and blood work was all normal.  I think it may be the beta-blocker coreg.  He has just been taking it a couple of months and that seems to be when his troubles started.  The nurse has agreed to him stopping it.  It has been 3 days and we both think he is improved.  He sees the cardiologist Wednesday.  Maybe more tests are due??  We will see. 

We both think selling the beef cows is in our near future.  Sad but we knew it would come eventually.  I hope to keep a few head and a bull  but we will see.

Chickens are still giving us 3-5  eggs a day!  I am impressed.

We had all five dogs in the kitchen; it was near impossible to get a picture of all of them.  They are in this shot.  Do you see the third puppy?

From puppies January 8 2015

We are taking our GD and her BF to Lambert's for lunch today to thank him.  He refused payment.  I did cook him a good, country breakfast each morning!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cooking Again

First thing on my mind is getting rid of the large header picture.....will work on that soon.

Good news!  after a phone call the sofa was delivered after 4pm yesterday.  If  I hadn't called, we would still be waiting.  How do businesses stay open with this kind of carelessness?

I was just looking at a l0-day forecast for us........not good.  Wednesday predicted high and low is 15 and 4°.  That seems awfully cold this early in winter.  the other days aren't much better.

I went to bed early (as usual) and DH told me that he had to put Sugar out for the night because she in after being let out before bedtime smelling strongly of skunk.  He even washed is jeans because she brushed next to them.....also  took a shower.  I couldn't smell anything on the back porch so we are good so far.  I haven't let her back in this morning yet.

She roamed some yesterday with the Beagle but they both came back home without DH having to take the truck to return them.  Hopefully they will start staying home.


Nothing special, just our beef on those buns I made in the form  of hamburgers.....maybe some baked beans on the fries.

I also want to make apple tarts in the muffin tins.  My Sis  ( family cook) called to tell me about a new  thing she did.  I will give it a try and let you know how it goes later this morning.

I made them almostexactly as she did except I left out the chopped pecans.  It is basically just diced apples, a brown/white sugar/flour mix, about 1/2 tsp brandy per  cup and a dollop of butter on top.

I used one pie crust (my standby Nathan's Never Fail recipe) from the freezer and just cut into 8 pieces.  I didn't do anything fancy at the edges.

They were very good warm but even better at room temperature.

Temperature has dropped down to 14° since a high of 31 this morning........

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cooking Again

We have warmed up a little.  At least not freezing at night.  We are still having those cloudy, dreary days often with a drizzle attached.

Yesterday was supposed to be the delivery of "our" sofa........didn't happen; didn't receive a call either.  I will be checking today.  The La-z-boy man did come and repair the foot lift on DH's chair.
It now works like new.  He told us we were  wise to repair it.  It was built in 1991 back when they used real, soft leather and were built  better.  He said if we  bought a new one  we would have seen him within 6 months! What a sad state of affairs.


Seems I can't  quit making bread.  I have a full loaf of whole wheat oatmeal in the freezer but saw a picture of Easy Tuscan Bean Soup with a slice of bread on the side.....I had white beans cooked and had all the ingredients, well almost all, and knew I wanted to make it with some of my 'go to' recipe of French bread on the side.  I was off and running.

The soup:

This was just a combo of onion, potato, carrots, broccoli (called for kale), tomatoes (my own canned), celery and the white beans.  The seasonings were salt, pepper, garlic and a touch of rosemary.

It also called for summer squash which I didn't have.  I may try to freeze some this summer just for soups.

The bread:

The recipe makes 3 large loaves but I make up part of it into buns.

French Bread (from newspaper so many years ago, I can't remember exactly)

submitted by:  Dorothy Swinney of Republic,Mo.
I wish I could tell Dorothy how much we have enjoyed this recipe and how many people I have shared it with.

3- 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 packages yeast
10-2/3 cups flour ( any flour will do)

Mix well in large mixer bowl.  Knead well (I use the mixer from start to finish).  Cover and let double in size.
Divide dough into three equal parts.
Rroll out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Roll up like a jelly roll, as  tight as possible, pinch side and ends tight.  Place loaves on greased cookie sheet and let rise again until double.  Note:  I use two sheets since the loaves will grow together if too close to each other.

Bake at 400° until golden  brown.  For  my range that takes between 40 and 45 minutes.

I have never had a failure with this  bread .  I did omit the salt one noticed!