Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Skunks Are Back!

Every spring for about three years now we have had a mama skunk burrow under the back foundation and have her babies.................sometimes the  smell that gets into  the house is really strong.  I have lost count of the cans of Febreze air freshener we have used.  Well, drat!  she is back.  I have worked over the area trying  to keep her out.   We laid down heavy wire mesh and fastened it down  with 6 inch landscape pins,have used  pieces of fire wood and various other stakes and things.  It seemed to work last year. Max has laid down three bales of straw over it all next to the foundation.

Not to be outdone,she went behind the straw and in  the 6 inches between the foundation and the first layer of heavy mesh and behind the straw bale dug down a sort of slide- in hole.  Two  days ago I worked on that, didn't help.  Yesterday I did some more and it seems to have worked.  I could hear her digging....I need to check in daylight to see if she made it through.  They never give up.  I am convinced it is the same skunk.

Traps will be set today.

Office is finished except for some decoration.  The carpenter took last week off..........working  somewhere else.  I may call him today.  He still hasn't finished the back porch area outside.

We have had some pretty heavy rains over the last week and it rained lightly yesterday afternoon and is misting now.  I am ready for it all to dry up and let the ground get workable.  Things have really greened up and I have one tiny daffodil in bloom.  It looks very lonely out  there by itself.

 I added this just because......Little Tommy followed me around while I was taking photos.

 Chicken yard was hazardous; I nearly fell because of the mole runs.  They were running like underground steams and I buried in one.  DH told me it was because I didn't know where to walk hinting  that I don't do the chickens often!  He is right.

 This is the west calf lot with water standing in every low place.

 The kittens all followed along.  I didn't  know they would wade!

The west yard, another mole run hazardous area.  I see I will have to pick up sticks before mowing.


Not much interesting going on but we decided the last sourdough bread was going to the chickens.....not be making that recipe  again.  (to be honest, it wasn't a fair test, as usual, I made a few modifications that may have caused the heaviness.).  I never feel it is a waste because the chickens will eat anything!

I did use up my left over mayonnaise before the expiration date and made the Hellman's Mayonnaise chocolate cake.  The  chickens will not be getting that (most will go in the freezer for unexpected guests or when Max gets a craving).

We both thought it was the darkest cake ever but it was very moist and tasty.


We are getting lots of good eggs.  I am very happy with these girls.  I thought they wouldn't lay before the longer days of spring and summer but we are getting more than enough for our needs and I have accumulated about 5 dozen for others. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

More Progress

Another cold front has arrived bringing a very light misty 'freezing' rain.  It is 22° now and will get down  to 18 tonight, not too bad if we  don't get anymore  ice.

Busy, busy day yesterday.  First of all DH told me we were getting low on hay and needed about 100 more I spent two day or more searching via the internet and finally located some not too far away.  Then the communication began (nothing is ever simple), about each person's schedule.  DH located some that could be delivered soon.  So we took that too, way too expensive for beef cows but they have to be fed.  Our late fall drought set everyone back about 2 months on grazing  days so hay is almost non-existent here now.
The other hay can remain stored and be moved in several trips by some local boys.

Then the  carpenter did finally come and he was here almost all day.  At 1 pm, the insurance agent arrived to discuss new policies combining autos and farm owners.  He was here two hours....meantime our local surrogate grandson(who will be helping with the hay hauling) stopped
by.  I offered him lemon cake and milk.  While he was eating the carpenter came in the kitchen with a question and so I offered to make his lunch.  He accepted.  So now within l0 minutes of the insurance agent arriving I am making a grilled cheese sandwich (also lemon cake and 2 glasses of milk).
Amidst all this the phone rang several times regarding hay and my Sis whose refrigerator died.
Agent arrived, now have three people under foot.  Kolten left, carpenter went back to  work and  I spent two hours talking about insurance, not my favorite subject!  Max was busy unloading hay and coming in a couple of times for decision making.

All is now quiet on the farm and I am loving it.  Max is  doing  chores and then going to the neighbors and setting out a bale for him.  His tractor wouldn't start this morning.

The good news is I discovered this strange man who is doing the porches is very skilled  in simple furniture.  Here are the two examples so far.

We will stain them  golden oak and finish with several coats of polyurethane.  I have decided to let him do it.  I may change my mind if the weather stays bad.

I think I will have him build a long, narrow table  for my kitchen.  My antique table is 45" square and is too wide for the  space.  I have to make people move if they are seated in front of the stove.  He said 30x60 would be a standard size and he is excited about building it.  I think he enjoys that kind of work more so than the rest and seems very proud of it.  I was really surprised when I saw what he had done.  I have lots more ideas about various projects inside for him.........


I tested the new Bosch Universal mixer on making an angel food cake and the lemon sponge cake using the leftover egg yolks.  While they turned  out, I wouldn't try to fold in the flour in the tube shaped mixer bowl again.  I think I should have dumped the egg whites into another round bowl and proceeded.  This cake  didn't turn out nearly as high.  I think I deflated the egg whites some in the folding process.  I am not in love with this mixer..........yet.  You think I could find room on my kitchen counter for another appliance? Max will not be pleased.

Yet another cat has slipped in the back door as Max was leaving and is hidden somewhere.  I will probably have to let his Momma in to find him.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Sour Dough Bread and the New Office (getting boring I know)

We got down to 6° and had about l inch of snow on when we got up this morning.  It has slowly warmed up and lots of the snow has melted.

The carpenter did show up and got a lot done.  At least I can  now see what the finished room will look like. He will be back  Thursday and Friday and finish both jobs. This is Antique White.  I like it enough, I will use it on the living room (plan on having him paint the inside house for me).

 Showing the vinyl strip flooring, he and  Max picked out the grey tones and I like how they look next to the marble entry just inside the door to the living room.

The next picture just shows the dining room wall side with the window for heating access.  He will build  movable shelves (sort of a table ) that  will be in front of the window and go wall to wall.

and now on the  to the Cooking

First I want to share the Scottish Shortbread Cookie recipe I have been making since 2005.  To give  credit  where it is due, it is from Allrecipes submitted by Linda.

Scottish Shortbread IV

2 cups butter (softened)
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1.Preheat oven to 325°F
2. Cream butter and sugar .  Add 3 to 3 3/4 cups of flour and mix well.
3. Sprinkle board  with the remaining flour and knead into dough for about 5 minutes.  Makes a soft but easily handled dough.  Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut into 3x1 inch strips (I use a ruler).  Prick with a fork and place on ungreased backing  sheets (I like to use parchment paper)
4.  Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Enjoy. (GD's cookies are in the mail!)  

Sourdough Bread venture:  Bread turned out great.  I used l teaspoon of regular yeast but won't use any next time and see how that works.  This rose nicely within l  hour. I have never tasted sourdough bread and just assumed  the 'sour' wouldn't be something I would enjoy in a bread.  Wrong! There was just a hint of sour and we both really liked it.

I have now put the 'mother' in the fridge and don't know how long I will keep this project going.

I used the discard (2 cups worth) and made King Arthur's recipe for pancakes/waffles and made some of both.  Very, very good.  I have frozen the leftovers for later toasting.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Tentative Success with Sourdough Project (Maybe)

Not much news since  last post.  Another cold front has moved in......typical of our weather,

Carpenter canceled  yesterday but did show up this morning and is prepping to paint.


I may have jumped the gun on the sourdough starter complaint.  Yesterday  after feeding around 5 pm, I decided to give it another trial day.  This morning around 2:30 (yes, am) it had doubled!  a first. So at my regular feeding time, I took out the half cup and fed and by a few hours later, it is bubbling happily.  I saved the excess amount (about l full cup).

I am making my first bread with the starter.  I am cheating  and using l tsp of instant yeast using King Arthur's rustic sourdough bread recipe.  I didn't measure very accurately so we shall see what we shall see.

The other cooking project was for our granddaughter in KC.  She told me she was feeling neglected.  Her study partner and friend got a package of cookies from her Gram.  So this morning Gram  baked a tray of Scottish Shortbread and will ship them to her tomorrow.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Busy Times on the Farm

What a day or I should say week it has been! Sure been busier than I like.

Last week was getting the farm truck inspected and licensed. They closed the office we are used to going to. Found we like the new place even better.
Max also had to renew his driver’s license.

Then this week, the 31st was our Mama cat’s surgery . Went smooth as silk; she never fussed at all! I was very proud of her. She is doing well. She is even letting those 3-month old babies nurse. I figure if it hurts her, she will stop them.

    The big news was my computer died! It was too old for the Geek Squad to fix. I did have enough sense to ask them to remove my hard drive. So now my son can retrieve anything lost for me. I may have mentioned he is a computer/electrical engineer…..and extremely conservative (tight!) so I had him pick me out a tower at Amazon and he picked a refurbished one for $204 and another one that I had picked out for $349. He laughed at me when I asked if the refurbished worried him and told me he would buy if from me if I wasn’t happy with it.
I took a chance and with my points got the thing for $104!
It came today (with Windows 10) so there is a learning curve. I do have it up and have downloaded my FTM software and Quicken and have successfully backed up those files! I feel like I can finally breathe. It seems much faster to me than the older computer with Windows 7.

Carpenter hasn’t showed all week but will be here tomorrow to work on my offfice. Slowly things will start smoothing out, please.

I know these are not serious things but we live such a humdrum life that these little upsets are just that upsets.


I will just say that the sourdough project is not going well. I now have a new flour and water batch going and one using milk, flour and sugar. Kris, I couldn’t find a step by step on your blog when you first began yours.

I hope I don’t get aggravated and just give up……………..


Carpenter just called and begged of for today..............I will not get upset; I will not get upset.

This shows the wider windowsill I asked it very much.  I have one coat of paint on and need to do more.