Monday, November 23, 2015

Our First Snow of the Year

It didn't last long and was gone  by evening.  It was pretty while it  lasted but we were not sorry to see it go.

Not much has been happening.  I did hear that our  son and his family will join us for Thanksgiving.  This will  be the first  time in a long time  we  have all been together.  Something to be Thankful for!

Of course, I now have to add a cream pie  to the dessert list....that is our son's favorite.  I made a cheese cake for our daughter and a flan for our SIL.  Then we have to have the traditional pecan and pumpkin ( my home grown) pie.  There will be lots of left over desserts.

We had an interesting  meal yesterday.  We  had venison roast!  I was dreading even cooking it but did it in the crock pot with onion soup mix and it was delicious!  A young neighbor who hunts  on the farm finally got a deer  with his bow and brought us two roasts and a package of summer sausage.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A New Recipe

Max took a  couple of very good shots of  our damaged red maple tree this morning.

The  wind is so strong, I am sure the leaves will all be gone very soon.

I love English novels, and always am curious about the foods they mention.  I have been known to grab my tablet and look up various ones before continuing the read.  My latest was Cottage Pie (or Shepherds' Pie).  I found a recipe on All recipes and after reading the comments, made it using some of my own changes.  We really liked it and for my DH to comment on a new food positively, that's a real endorsement.

We ate some before I remembered to take a picture:

I copied the All recipe version and went back and added my comments.  I hope it is clear.


6 servings 512 cals
  • pound lean ground beef (I used ground pork but added beef base)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Reduced to a pinch!)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (I used my own mix of garlic, oregano and thyme)Taste!
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I actually had this growing)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (subbed water and beef base)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk (ignore this amount and just make regular mashed potatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese ( I didn't do cheese topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. To Make Meat Filling: Place a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in ground beef and saute 1 minute. Add onion and carrot, then continue to saute until meat is no longer pink and onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour, cinnamon, mixed herbs, and parsley.
  3. In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste. Mix together, then add to beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. ” Lower heat and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of liquid has been absorbed. Note: I stirred  the flour and spices into the meat mixture then added rest of ingredients and lowered heat and cooked until tender and very little liquid remained.
  5. Spoon mixture into a 9 inch pie plate.
  6. To Make Potato Topping: Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Allow to come to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
  7. Mash potatoes until smooth, then add butter or margarine, followed by milk. Whip until fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread potatoes over beef filling. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.
Note: Since DH's favorite vegetable is peas, I tossed in a handful of frozen peas to meat mixture before adding to pie plate. Be sure to taste for salt and pepper.

This filled a deep dish 9 inch pie plate and made enough for at least two meals and maybe three for the two of us.  It was a great cold weather meal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pumpkin Harvest (finally)

The rains are gone and in their place is  very soggy ground and a cold (45°) and very windy day. I told DH to bring the ATV down to the back door when he was finished checking the cows and I would harvest the rest of the pumpkins before our 20° temperatures hit.  We ended up with 5.25 inches of rain. 

He called me to the back porch and said look: He had harvested almost all of them and had a place cleared in the milk parlor for them. I spied a few more and sent him back to get them.....most and maybe all will become either cattle or chicken feed. I will pick the largest one with the best dark color for seeds to share.

We ended up with 25 total from one hill of maybe 5 plants or less.  I  will not be growing them next year!

He also had taken out the compost bucket and dumped. As I said before, he is a keeper.

The fencing man showed up today and we are having him clear the fence lines along the lane that runs down the middle of the farm. We thought the front ditch was still too wet for him to finish that up.

I hope to be finished with these projects soon both because of the cost and the never knowing when he will return.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rain has Arrived

We are finally getting rain. 1 inch so far and a lot more promised for tomorrow if we aren't too far north to catch it. Springfield is supposed to get 4 inches. Today is cold, very windy and a good day to be inside (poor DH). I will be making chili.

I took pictures from the back stoop.....that is as far as I would venture.

I was worried the red maple wasn't going to color, but it did.

I zoomed a little too much here but you can see the wind and Willow and son in the far distance. That was after milking. She gave us 2 gallons which was very good after a cold and rainy night.

More wind in the oak outside the living room

The previous week was spent doing some extra cleaning.  Our daughter and granddaughter came down for a tour of Drury University on Friday.  I doubt she will choose it but needed to see a small school for comparison.  Both of our offspring are MU alumni but with their recent troubles there are no firm plans for her to attend their alma mater.  Sad, sad goings on.  Hopefully things will get straightened up.  She has lots more visits to make.  

I had promised to make our GD twice baked potatoes and barbecued ribs and knew I  wouldn't be able to squeeze that in over Thanksgiving so that was our Friday evening dinner.  I was worried about the ribs but they turned out great cooked in the oven with a rub, long and low heat.  Brushed on sauce at the last.  We got a kick our of our daughter.  She drank three glasses  of Willow milk at one setting.  That was a first!  Our kids were raised on home-grown milk and they still love it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October 31-November 3, 2015

The weather is dreadful for trick or treaters.....if they even do that anymore.  Cold, windy and light rain falling.  I got wet just going to the milk parlor.

We did something different yesterday.  We took a day trip to Arkansas.  DH used to travel in the Mt. Home vicinity when working and every now and then he likes to go back and reminisce.  We went down one way and came back another.  Arkansas scenery is pretty much like ours only more mountainous.  We could tell they were drier than us until we got just this side of Mt. Home.  Then we saw some green fields.  He decided we need another day trip.  We have done this one several times.  Arkansas is truly a beautiful state.  We have never been way down south near Louisiana.  I would like to do that some time but then you have to worry about livestock.....

We ate lunch out at a small place on the square.  I do love the old squares these country towns have.  The food was so so.  Dessert always seems lacking to me.  The cream pies all have that dreadful whipped garbage on top. Once  I found that out, I canceled our order and DH settled for a dish of ice cream.

I decided if we are  to ever  have what they call 'homemade' pie we would be making it at our home.  So..............
I made us a coconut cream pie using our surplus of eggs.

I have noticed restaurants rarely offer fruit pies....looks like that would be an easy one.

OK.  It is now November 4, Wednesday.

We are still in a warmer period but very cloudy.  Cold front and rain promised for the next few days.

Our "fencing" person returned and did the work in the orchard around the hydrant and removed a downed peach tree.  He also came back yesterday and installed another gate for DH to use  rounding up the chickens who 'crawl' under the new fence.  I think I will also be able to get the riding  mower back there to mow the back side of the garden where I used herbicides this year.  That will be good.

He is coming this morning to begin cleaning the fence rows facing the road.  I will be so happy to get them cleared.I think that will be all I want him to do but farm manager has things out on the farm for him.

We loaded out a few more calves  and sent them to market yesterday.  That may catch us up on calves big enough to sell.  I plan for him to bring down a couple of the largest ones left to begin graining for us.  We are all getting low again.

Inside Work

I made a list of things I wanted to get done before Thanksgiving in the house and am slowly getting them done:

Permanently attach shelves to back porch wall.   Done
Replace undercounter (broken out of socket) lights.   done
Replace ceiling fan broken out of socket light bulb
Wash down all kitchen cabinets   Done *(no help this time)
Paint two extra kitchen chairs (bought paint but not done yet)

Mop kitchen floor (down on hands and knees, if possible)  not done yet.

I will probably be adding to the list. 

Yard Things

I must save cosmos seeds before the rains hit (today)
Harvest rest of pumpkins (be sure to save seeds from  largest and best one)

Have you noticed:  One thing leads to another.  

Removed dead evergreen; need to paint or scrub smokehouse!