Sunday, October 18, 2020

I'm on a roll...

 I actually got quite a few projects knocked off of my list this week.

I used last year's compost to top off my butterfly bed...

Seeds were scattered and the soil turned.  Emptying the compost bin cleared up room for my next project.

I raked the leaves...

There were a lot of leaves.  All that work made me hungry.  I am still working on the family cookbook and Julia Child inspired me to check my recipes.  It was a great time to try my mom's amazing pumpkin bars and frosting.

Pumpkin Bars

2 c. Flour

2 t. Baking Powder

1 t. Salt

1 t. Cinnamon

1/2 t. Ginger

1/4 t. Cloves

1 t. Baking Soda

4 Eggs

2 c. Sugar

1 can of Pumpkin (16 oz.)

1 c. Oil

1 c. Walnuts chopped (optional)

Beat eggs, then add sugar, pumpkin, and oil.  Fold in flour, salt, and spices.  Beat well and add walnuts.  Bake in 12x16 jelly roll pan. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

 1 pkg. Cream Cheese (8 oz.)

1/2 c. Butter (soft)

3 1/2 c. Powered Sugar

1 t. Vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  If too stiff add a tablespoon of milk or cream.

Yummy!  I'm liking this cookbook project more and more.  My goal is to have all the recipes in by the end of the October.  I find we are a family of bakers, as our dessert and bread sections are quite heavy compared to the rest of the sections.

The snow came and that started a whole new plethora of new projects.  Snow means quilting...

I needed to do a lot of figuring to plan this quilt.  I learned from the last quilt the quilt as you go method isn't a good way to work.  After the planning, I tried making a few paper pieces leaves.  I'm really happy with how it is turning out.

I had to try a few more recipes.  My Roadhouse Rolls and Wild Rice Soup.  Two more cookbook recipes successfully created.

I don't have any pretty sunset photos.  Hopefully, my hibiscus will do.  I wanted it to bloom all summer.  Instead it waits until winter.  Oh well, it does cheer up the house some.

What projects and cooking are you doing?  Did you have a lot of leaves to take?  Have a fabulous week.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Nature's first green is gold...

 Nature's first green is gold.

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf is a flower;

But only so for an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank with grief.
Dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Thank you Robert Frost for saying it so eloquently.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Minnesota barns...

Not all of the leaves are turning, but the few that are take your breath away.  We spent the weekend in Minnesota visiting family.  
What is Minnesota without a barn tour?  At one time, it seemed like people were letting the old barns fall apart.  Lately, it seems farms are fixing them up.  It is good to see history being saved.

The picture below does not do justice to the brilliant red this gigantic barn was painted.  It doesn't seem that big but from the side it was immense.  I couldn't fit it all in the picture.

 It is always good to see family and I enjoy our barn tour tradition.  It has been a wonderful fall weekend filled with family, food, and a feeling of contentment.  When was the last time you returned to the place where you grew up?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Fast and furious...

 My weekend was fast and furious.  The wind blew and it was cold.  Our refrigerator finally died.  It's been crying around for awhile.  Just when we thought it was done for we'd wiggle this and clean that, but it was just prolonging the inevitable.  It took some looking to find one that didn't have a tv, ice maker, or water station.  After two major leaks thanks to those fancy water dispensers we stuck with a plain no frills fridge.  Go figure none of them have ice cube trays.  Can you believe that?  Enough complaining.  I did get a few projects done.

I cleaned the porcupine quills.  I have been dreading this project all year as the smell is less than pleasant.  I poured some Dawn in the bucket, covered the quills with hot water, and stirred.  Wearing leather gloves, I covered the bucket with an old sheet and poured out the water.  I did this twice.  It wasn't perfect, but I did not want to lose a quill and have Ella find it.  Sorry no photos, but I couldn't hold my nose, sheet, bucket of quills, and take a picture.  Use your imagination.
This is the quill clipping station.  As you can see, I have a ways to go.  

On the gardening front, the Tomato Taj Mahal is wonderful.  I have a ton of tomatoes to roast.  There is nothing better than roasted tomatoes and peppers.  I pulled up the last of my carrots and replanted the carrots and added some lettuce for the hell of it.  Sometimes I'm lucky with fall planting, but not always

The herbs were repotted and moved indoors.  I have licorice, lemon, and lime basil.  In the fall I move from lemonade to tea.  I tried using my French press for licorice basil tea and was pleasantly surprised.  

The milkweed seed pods harvested from our prairie property opened and wow.  Aren't they pretty?  It kind of looks like a pinecone.  They will go in the butterfly garden.

During all of this, I butchered the deer my husband harvested with his bow.  Nobody where I work hunts and they always call me Bambi killer.  They weren't making fun of me this year when hamburger was $10 a pound.  We ate every bit of our venison.

Ella got a bath, combed all over, and trimmed.  You would think I ran her through the mill.  She has slept all day.  I guess I don't blame her it was too cold and windy to do anything else.

Now that I think about it, I'm tired too.  I've got too many projects going.  The family cookbook, porcupine quills, quilt, butchering, and end of the year gardening.  Time to sit down with a nice cup of tea.  What projects are you working on?  Is it fall there?  What do you do with your tomatoes?  Have a fabulous week.

Sunday, September 20, 2020


 It is that time of the year when plants need divided.  I have a friend who just built a new home and is need of some landscaping.  A good deal for both of us.  I am more than happy to share.

Not only was I busy gardening this weekend, but we also had my cousin and her husband over for brunch.   After we ate, we took turns four wheeling in the Roxer.  Phyllis was kind enough to give me quite a bit of beading supplies.  My goal is to make earrings and bracelets with the girls next summer.

We had a wonderful visit.  I look forward to our yearly tradition.  Phyllis and I spent some time discussing the family cookbook I'm working on, Cozy Cabin Kitchen.  I've been adding recipes, photos, and stories like crazy.  I want it done by Christmas.  

Speaking of cooking.  I finally made my beautiful cabbage into coleslaw.  1/2 c. Miracle Whip, 1/4 c. Milk, 2T. Vinegar, and dash if salt and pepper.  Don't forget the grated carrot also from the garden.  It was perfect.
I got all sorts of good things from the garden and was happy to share.

My husband harvested his giant pumpkin.  It weighed a whopping 3 1/2 pounds.   He is already making plans for next year.

I picked and ate my Minnesota Midget Melon.  They weren't kidding.  It was good, but it was mighty small.

Not quite what I was looking for in a melon.  That is pretty much my week.  Busy, but productive.  I have been doing a little bow hunting here and there.  So far, I've seen a little badger and this fawn.  Tonight I'm watching the bluejays eat the acorns.
I hope you all have been enjoying fall.   I apologise for not commenting on your blogs.  My phone recently crashed and wiped everything clean.  Slowly I've been getting it back together.  Now for some reason, when I push the  comment buttons on your posts my phone kindly gives me the definition of "comment." Not sure what that is all about and I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to make it stop.  Until then know I am still living vicariously through your posts.  Even if you don't hear from me

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive week.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Life goes on...

 I was asked what zone we live in.  If you look on a map it laughingly says zone 5.  At a mile above sea level, we are not a zone 5.  After much trial and error, I would say we are a zone 3.  That being said, my orchard is only 200 yards away and I think that is in a zone 4.  While everywhere around us will freeze, the orchard remains untouched by Jack Frost's brush.  I think it has something to do with all of the aspen and birch compared to the pine.  It all boils down to my growing season is unbearably short.

That is where the Tomato Taj Mahal comes in.

Everything stayed nice and snug.  My tomatoes are on the cusp of being ripe.   It made the smudging of my beloved phlox a bit easier to take.  We covered the squash and pumpkin.  They didn't do too bad.  

I'm still harvesting carrots and they taste amazing.  I also pulled up my glads and dahlias.

I think we are back to "normal" temperatures.  At least for a while.  I know Ella is sure happy to have her yard back.

I sure wish I could send this moisture to the West Coast.  I hope they get rain soon. 

Some have asked if a September snow is unusual for us.  I can't say it is.  Looking back at pictures I'd say it happens every few years.  What is the earliest you see snow?