Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving morning.. all is quiet.

As I sit here in the morning darkness...the TV on in the back round, the fire crackling..ooops, went out, be right back. OK, ( cue sappy music ) the fire crackling in the back round... I sit here waking up with a cup of coffee steaming under my nose. Mentally going over the things I need to do to get Thanksgiving dinner ready. OK, ok, wait a minute. Its not all that "romantic" REALITY CHECK HERE! I crawled out of bed, my hair going crazy , achy and sore....barely made it to the potty before I wet myself. Stumbled to the kitchen... oh crap!! What a mess! Our daughter and son in law came in last night around 11 pm. I was just finishing up the baking.. so we sat down and chatted until well after midnight. I crawled into bed leaving the kitchen a mess! UGH! Got the coffee going....steal a cup and stumble to the computer. The fire had gone out, so I grumbled as I went over to get it going, only to see it was FULL of ashes, so I dug out the little block in the bottom that opens to the ash drawer underneath, get it out, only to find out that the ash bucket is full! UGH! Now I have to take the ash drawer out back and dump it in the metal trash can we have to hold ashes. *insert MUCH grumbling* Never fails.... as I go to empty the drawer into the can, the wind kicks up....covering me in a nice layer of ash...first thing in the morning... gotta love it.. NOT! Shaking off the ashes, back inside, clean out the wood stove and got a fire going. There... now that's better. I am going to sit here and drink my coffee.. then head to the kitchen and tame that beast... get the kitchen cleaned so I can get it dirty again getting that bird ready. I like to start with a " clean slate" Hoping by the time I get the kitchen cleaned, my daughter will be up to help get that tom in the oven. Breaking bread, cutting onion and celery, getting it stuffed and in the oven. Later today our daughter in law will be here with the 3 grand kids for dinner. Our son works retail so he will not be here. He has to work 9 am until 9 pm. I really wish the stores were all closed today so everyone could be with their families and friends. I always get a little melancholy on Thanksgiving. I miss the days when the kids were smaller.... and we had all 4 of them here. I always put up one of those 8 ft long folding tables in the dining room, just to hold the sweets I baked. I used to bake for days! Apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie and chocolate creme pie. Then the cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter, butter cookie cutouts iced in colorful icings.. there would be pumpkin bread, banana nut bread, home made peanut brittle, buckeyes, Russian tea cakes. What a spread! The busy morning preparing the big feast... kids running in and out stealing bites of this or that... putting the leaf in the big dining table to hold the big feast.Yes, I miss those days. Now, the kids are grown, they have married and started their own families. All but one have moved far away. We struggle to fill the house now on Thanksgiving. However now we have the grand kids. So after the feast is cleaned up and put away, we will drag out the Christmas tree, and put it up. Making new memories with the grand traditions. Eventually Thanksgiving dinner will be done at one of their homes... and we will go feast with them, watching them make new memories...and new traditions. I wish you all have a great Thanksgiving...make memories that last...enjoy your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving.... giving thanks.

Yes... Thanksgiving is just about here. In a few more days, people will be getting together and feasting. Many of those people will mindlessly gather, feast, laugh, and share memories. I say "mindlessly" because so many people just do it out of habit. Because of the day that it is. "Turkey day" .... Thanksgiving.... phrases like "gobble till you wobble" or "eat until your eyes pop out" or maybe you hear " they were in a turkey coma" Yes, I have heard these phrases. Thanksgiving has become a day to gather and become Gluttonous. How many families REALLY give thanks.? How many people will pause before filling their plates and reflect on the past year, and speak out loud the things they are thankful for? Well, we do in our home. We will start at one end of the table and one by one go around until each person speaks out loud of at least one thing they are thankful for... then we give thanks to God. THEN... we stuff ourselves mercilessly. There was a time, many years ago, when my husband was in the military, we would open our home to single airmen or two, who had no family to celebrate with, to share our feast. Times have changed... our location has changed. We now live in an area and a time where we are afraid to invite a stranger into our home. It is a sad world we live in. As I sit here making the list of the foods I will prepare for our feast, I am thankful that I CAN prepare them. A lot of the food will come from our homestead.... food we grew and harvested from the sweat of our brow. I am thankful that we live in an area where we can grow and raise our food. Thankful I have the ability, strength, and knowledge of how to do what we do. In the back round the television is on, times are tough all over...some areas erupt in violence over a civil matter. I am thankful that we do not live in a larger city, where violence is prominent. So stop for a moment...reflect on your life....your lifestyle.... what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Weather = Wild Ride

Wow, already, this weather is freaking out! We have had frigid temps...5 inches of snow.... and today will be 40 degrees. This weekend will be in the low 60's with a potential of severe thunderstorms. Yesterday had the goats shivering. Making me feel so bad for them, today I am making goat coats. Yes... you heard me right. I am making little coats for the goats. I will post pics once I get them finished....and try to get a few pics of them modeling for me. For now, I am going to cozy up to the fire and wait for daylight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It is cold.... that is all.

Yes, Old Mother Nature is going to really mess with us this year. This morning it is 3 degrees!!!! Our temps today are supposed to stay in the teens. Holy smokes. My back is hurting just thinking about it! I will be hauling warm water all day to the critters. Oh, and you want to hear the best part!??? By 4 days....we are supposed to be in the 60's!!! This 5 inches of snow will melt into "poop soup" Oh fun! The wood stove is blazing.... the furnace is on.....I am sitting here with a blanket wrapped around me with a hot cup of coffee...dreading that cold air outside. Today will be all about the layers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yep... we got "it"

Last night... " it" started. First it was rain....then, the temps dropped and "it" became white and a bit more solid...yep, our first measurable snow. As I headed out this morning it took my breath away. The first snow is always so pretty to me. Of course, in a few months I will be cussing it...but for now.. just a few pictures from this morning...while I am still enjoying it. The geese didn't seem to be thrilled about it....
This little kitten found a great few "Snuggle bunnies"
Looking down the shop driveway...towards the quiet...
So this is what the first snow is looking like....for now...i love it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

And we are in for our first..."Everyone forgets how to drive"

Yep, there is something about that first few snows. Is it the cold?? Is it THAT mesmerizing?? People everywhere forget how to drive once that first measurable snow hits. I took these pictures this evening. We are supposed to get 3 - 5 inches.
I personally do NOT have to get out tomorrow. If you careful! You might just see this!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanksgiving is almost here.... Oh boy!

So, today was a busy day. The power company has been traveling the back roads around here cutting the trees from the lines. Not just topping them, cutting them down, and leaving the wood cut into 3 foot sections, free for whoever gets there first. Today the hubby and I made 2 trips out and was able to get a full load of Oak. Of course it is green and we won't be able to use it this year, however, next year we will NOT be in the same position we are in this year, struggling to find firewood. We picked up a second load of hickory and a little Maple. We are going back out tomorrow to see how much more we can pick up. Next year we will have a jump on the firewood situation. So, after we got it all stacked, or thrown in a pile...we retired to the house. That was a good workout for the day. After evening chores, and dinner, we got the wood stove going making it nice and toasty warm in here. Got the jammies on, and I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. We snuggled in to watch the Hallmark channel. Yep, Christmas movies. Sitting here I started thinking about Thanksgiving. It is almost here...and... well.. Don't tell my friend Ohio Farmgirl, but I haven't made a pie in a long time! I need to practice on my crust making. Oh, you don't know Ohio Farmgirl!? You need to go check out her blog. She is my hero... as farm hero's go. She has these EPIC farm dogs.. they butcher their own hogs, right there on the farm! One day I will work up to that... maybe. She also tells the BEST tales. Seriously, you need to go check her out. You will not be disappointed. Here.. go look! Just remember, do NOT tell her I have not made a pie lately. Hey, I made cookies!! That counts for something doesn't it!? I want to try a new to me crust recipe. It involves.... VODKA! I kid you not! Here... go try this one for yourself. Perfect Pie Crust. 2 C. unbleached all purpose flour 1 tsp. salt 6 ounces ( 3/4 or a cup ) of lard. Cold and cut into 1/2 inch squares. 1 Tablespoon Vodka 1/4 to 1/2 cup ICE water. Whisk together the flour and salt. Mix the lard in by hand, it does make a difference. But if you want, you can use a pastry blender. Eventually it should look like coarse sand. Sprinkle the Vodka, and half of the water over the mixture and blend well, adding water as needed but only 1 tablespoon full at a time until the dough forms. Divide in half, make each half into a ball, then flatten to 3/4 of an inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill one hour. After the hour, lay one at a time out on a floured surface and begin rolling out to a 10 inch circle that is 1/4 inch thick. There ya have it. " The perfect pie crust" The theory is, while baking, the Vodka will bake out of the crust, leaving it light and flaky. I want to try this before Thanksgiving... sounds like a good recipe. So, looks like I will be making pie tomorrow... after we go gather a few more loads of free firewood. If you use this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you. Now, lets all go make pie!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

13 snowfalls?

So, today we had our first "snow" It wasn't a measurable snow.... just flurries all day. Today is the 13th. The old "wives tale" is, "whatever the date is you get your first snow, that is how many snowfalls you will have that winter." I am not sure I can believe that one.. and honestly, I am sure I will NOT remember to mark the calendar every time it snows. I DO know, today was DARNED COLD! I don't think we even reached 30 degrees. It was so cold... and windy. Most of the critters stayed inside for the day. The geese and ducks, and the guineas..( not so smart) were out in it all day. I personally stayed in as long as I could. I only went out to do what HAD to be done, then back inside to the warmth of the fire. I made sure everyone had plenty warm clean bedding, clean water, fresh full feeders, then back inside. I took cabbages out for the poultry. I hang them in the pens to give them something to peck at to keep the "cabin fever" at bay. The weatherman says 1 - 2 inches by Saturday night. Oh how I do NOT like our weatherman! This is how I see him.
I am going to make sure I am NOT out on the roads for the first measurable snowfall. People go crazy! Empty the store shelves, wrecks on every corner and in every parking lot. Nope, Not this old woman. I will be at home, with a good fire going... most likely baking something, sipping hot coffee. We are still trying to get all of the firewood brought in that we need. Last year we went through 15 ricks. Now, last year was unseasonably cold, even for these parts. I am hoping it wont be THAT bad this year, but we are going to plan on it. Only need another 12 ricks! *bangs head on desk* We are so far behind! Oh, and look at what I picked up the other day...
This is what it looked like when I got it. It is for putting water in on the wood stove, to help with humidity.
This is after the first cleaning. Nothing a sanding disc and a compressor can't handle. After sanding most of the rust off, I brought it inside and washed it in hot soapy water then put it in the oven at 500 degrees. Now I have to make the decision of my next step. Do I grease it down and bake it in the BBQ or do I paint it with high heat paint? It will have water in it all of the time....and be on the wood stove. Someone else suggest that I season it really well, then use it to bake casseroles in. I bet those sweet potato's baked in there would be pretty on the Thanksgiving table. Hmmmm. Not sure what I will do. But until I decide.. I have a large tea pot for the wood stove. What would YOU do with it!?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Its darned cold!!

Yes, I know, "winter comes every year" But.... this cold is "unseasonably cold" I woke this morning to the furnace going. The sound woke me, since it is propane, it sounds like money burning to me. I slowly got up and got the fire going. It won't be long and the furnace will kick off.... I hope. It is 32 degrees out there. Dang! Mentally, I am not ready. Oh, I have almost everything caught up outside...animals bedding is thick so they are warm, I made sure of it yesterday. But mentally, I am not ready to be stuck inside. We don't have all of the firewood we need yet, so I need to get busy! At least that will give me more reason to be outside. What is on your list to keep your mind busy on those cold dark winter days? I am personally going to work on dehydrated meals. Since I have 3 dehydrators now I can do quite a bit at a time. I am thinking I will work on some "meals in a jar" for Christmas gifts. In between dehydrating and packing jars, I also have quite a bit of wool I need to get cleaned, carded, and spun. That is time consuming, and relaxing. I also need to figure out why I can NOT add pictures to my blog, since this crazy computer downloaded Windows 8... nothing seems to want to work like it used too. *sigh* computers stump me. So, with winter creeping up quickly, time to get that winter list going. Make the list so I can start checking things off of it... do you make a winter list? What keeps your mind busy on these cold winter days?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Its a comin! Are you ready!?

Yep, fall is here, the leaves are just about gone from the trees...and the weatherman is threatening us with some pretty nasty language.... "Snow" , " Damaging frost" etc. So we have already had our first "heavy freeze" I have already once had to break ice from troughs and rain barrels. *sigh* "IT" is coming. Winter...cold... snow... ice. OK, ok, I will stop with the bad language. For the most part, I like winter. I try to romanticize it so it is a bit easier to handle the dark days, ice covered everything, shoveling snow, cold wet hands and feet... with a warm fire and a soft blanket, snuggled in with a hot cup of coffee. Then the Holidays are coming.. The lights, the smells of sweet treats baking... smiles on peoples faces... Children giggling with anticipation of the fat man in a red suit coming. Yes... even with all of those "happy thoughts" Sometimes I really dread winter. Hauling buckets of water, trudging out in the dark cold morning, barely awake as I drag myself from my warm bed out into a chilly room, rushing to get the fire going to take the chill off. The pantry is filling up nicely....only a few spots left to pack it all in for winter. To get ready for " the big chill" Now that the gardens are finished, we turn our energy to bringing in firewood. LOTS and LOTS of firewood. The persimmon seeds predict a "lot of snow". The farmers Almanac predicts a "lot of snow". The fact that the mice are moving in already, ( or trying to) predicts a " lot of snow" So, yes, we are trying to get in firewood. How much wood do you use? Or do you even use firewood to heat your home? On a "normal" winter we might go through 10 to 12 ricks Last year, we struggled getting firewood towards the end of the winter season.. because we didn't prepare for it. We went through 15 ricks of wood! That might have been because some of the wood was not the "best" for heating with, but this year, we are planning to get at LEAST 15 ricks, hoping to get 20, "just in case" So our days will be busy now, saw dust flying.... aching backs.... and the smell of fresh cut wood filling our senses. Happy Fall everyone... what are you doing to get ready for winters icy grip?