When the bold branches bid farewell to rainbow leaves - Welcome wool sweaters. ~ B. Cybrill

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Get Well Soon...

In case you didn't know, it is cold and flu season.  The flu seems to be quite strong this year.  My husband is not feeling well.  Congestion and sore throat.  I'm on red alert, since most of my students and teachers are sick.  Add my husband to that mix and I'm probably doomed.  I decided to be prepared.  Oh, and take care of my husband.

First, I made some homemade throat drops.  I have wanted to try these for some time, but it looked like a lot of work.  I decided better now than when I'm sick.  

 Homemade Honey/Ginger Cough Drops
1 c. Ginger tea
1 c. Honey
2 T. Lemon Juice
1 c. sugar
1/4 t. ginger

First make the tea.  I used a Korean Ginger Tea that was given to me by a very thankful Korean mother.  It sure has some zing to it.  After the tea is made, add the honey, lemon juice, and sugar. 
Boil until the candy thermometer says 300 degrees.  That took a while.  Keep a watch on the pot, because it will boil over.  I kept it on a low temperature and tried not to stir it much.

Next prepare your molds.  Make an even layer of powdered sugar in a cake pan.  Then using a teaspoon leave indentations in the sugar.  That was much easier than I anticipated.  When the mixture reaches 300 degrees, use a tablespoon to fill the sugar indentations.  Be super careful as this is just plain hot hot hot.  Let everything cool, then stir with a slotted spoon.  When both sides are covered with powdered sugar, sift the drops out, put in a jar, and put in the refrigerator.  Be careful using these with children as they are still a bit sticky in the middle and kids under the age of 3 aren't supposed to have honey.  

Then next home remedy is a spicy cough remedy.  This really has some zing, but does sooth a sore throat and quiets the cough.  

Maggie's Cough Remedy
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. ginger
1 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. water
1 T. honey
Mix and refrigerate.  This will make your eyes water, but it works.

My final go to is a homemade hot drink made with 1 c. water, 1 T. apple cider vinegar, 1 T. lemon juice, and 1 T. honey.  I find it very soothing.  

That in a nutshell is my "Get Well Kit."  I can't say enough how much I enjoy finding and trying these homemade remedies on Pinterest.  I especially like that I can make them out of things that are readily available in the cupboard and honey from my own hives.

One last home remedy is not from Pinterest.  It is good old Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with a side of homemade bread.  The soup is canned vegetables from my garden, cooked and shredded chicken breasts, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 2 bay leaves, ground parsley, and ground thyme.

Grandma Wilder's Noodles 
1 1/2 t. salt
3 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cup of flour

Mix by hand until it sticks together, roll out flat, and cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Boil in the soup for 20 minutes.  If my family is scratching their heads wondering who Grandma Wilder is.  She is from a cookbook.  

There you have it.  The perfect recipe for getting better.  Don't forget to take lots of naps.  In fact, that is where I'm headed next.  I hope everyone out there is avoiding the plague.   At the bottom are the sites where I found the recipes.  Good luck and stay healthy.

Cough Syrup:  http://nancyvienneau.com/blog/articles/home-remedy/
Cough Drops: http://sarahmcgill.squarespace.com/recipes/2011/8/20/honey-ginger-throat-drops.html

Sunday, January 18, 2015

This and that...

I've been doing a lot of snowshoeing lately.  It is a good cure for cabin fever.  Sometimes you see the strangest things.  I've lived up here for 12 years now and I've never seen a squirrel as industrious as this one.  He had about six of these piles and tunnels everywhere.  He was finding plenty to keep busy.

 In the photo above of Ella and I, it was -5, but today it was 40 and there was actually a light rain.  It smells like spring.  I know better, but it sure smelled good.
 Ella is of course my happy snowshoeing partner.  She is always on the lookout for pine cones.  As you can see below, she will chase a pine cone anywhere.  

 I didn't just take a hike.  I also did quite a bit of house cleaning, made bread, made wine, and did some garden planning.  
 The weather has been warmer.  Maybe tomorrow I'll have coffee on the porch.  It is amazing what one can get accomplished during a 3 day weekend.  I almost feel caught up.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas in the Country Reveal...

I received a wonderful package in the mail from Sarah at the Laze L Farm.  I can't wait to share the straws with my nieces and nephew.  I will put the Bless you Heart sign in my office.  I am currently using the cup as it keeps my coffee nice and warm.  The F will go on one of our many projects.  I appreciate  Sarah's thoughtfulness.  It was a fun surprise.  I also enjoyed learning more about her on her blog the http://lazelfarm.blogspot.com/. 

I would like to thank Robyn at ( http://theranchwifechronicles.com/ ), Jamie Rhoades (This Uncharted Rhoade), Laurie Link (COUNTRY LINKed), Erin Mullins (Diaries from the Dirt Road).  I was a fun project.   It was fun reading new blogs and meeting new people.  I also enjoyed the challenge of coming up with a present for the name I drew.    


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goodbye 2014 and Welcome 2015...

At the end of January, I will have been blogging for 4 years.  Pretty cool.  I've always kept a garden journal and I found blogging to be the perfect way to journal and add photos.  What I hadn't expected was that my circle of friends and inspiration has grown immensely through the blogging community.  Part of the enjoyment of keeping a record of the everyday thing is that you can look back and see progress or lack of progress (orchard fence comes to mind).   Another positive of keeping a record is setting goals for the new year.  Goals give me a compass.  My priorities for the upcoming year are:  

~Go on a bear hunt with my husband.
~Be a good host as I anticipate many guests at the cabin this year.    
~Go on Jeep adventures like we did when "we were kids" (That is code for when my husband and I were first married).
~Redoing the front flower beds.  I don't mean plants I mean the actual beds. 
~The veggie focus will be sweet corn and tomatoes from seed.  After last years poor showing, I will never buy tomato plants.  My challenge will be to grow an egg plant and a giant pumpkin.  
~Relax on the porch with family and friends.
~Expand my blogging community.  Become inquisitive again and visit new blogs. 
~Stay on top of my wine making.  Which means keeping notes, labeling, and keeping on track.  You forget to take some notes and don't label a few things and chaos ensues.   
~I haven't given up on the orchard fence.   

How did I do last year?  Well, I didn't set my sights very high.  The year prior had been exhausting.  A review of 2014's goals.

1.  To keep my husband happy and healthy.  He will undergo some health challenges this year and I will be beside him helping and nagging.  Done, my husband's surgery was successful and he is back to his old self.  I'm impressed with his determination.

2.  Continue to push my garden skills.  This year I would like to focus on annuals and containers. I turned my strawberry bed into an annual bed.  I got the idea from Deborah's cutting beds at the Dandelion House and Garden.   I was very happy with the results.  I'm going to have to find somewhere else for them this year as I finally purchased strawberries and the bed is back to it's original purpose.  I did a few containers and they were ok.  

3. Continue to produce Pinterest projects.  I have really enjoyed finding recipes, projects, and ideas from others.   I will also continue to turn the old into something new.  I am very happy with my Pinterest projects and try to share them regularly.  I've tried sewing, cooking, baking, and spa projects.  Some very successful and some complete failures.  One doesn't know until you try.

4. Continue my education and exercising.  I have been working out regularly.  As for education, the young kids I work with are constantly giving me an education:)

5.  All I have to say about fencing that orchard is if there aren't any shrubs left due to the blizzard (Atlas they call it) I am going to raise Highland Cattle in that damn corral.  The shrubs took it hard.  We still haven't finished the fence.  Partly because I wasn't sure if it is even worth finishing.  

5. Take it easy this year.  Stay close to home and enjoy the little things in life.  We didn't venture far this year.  Instead we enjoyed hosting visitors to our cabin.  Most notable was my two nieces got to spend the night.  We also enjoyed hosting my cousin and his family on their giant road trip.  There was also a very nice brunch on the porch with my relatives Bob and Phyllis.

That is it.  My review of the past and future goals.  As for the present,  I'm happy and healthy.   I have an awesome husband, a good dog, great family, good friends, and a beautiful cabin in the woods.  Life is good.   I wish everyone a wonderful 2015. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Crystals for Christmas...

We got some snow, so I thought I'd go snowshoeing with Ella.  Everything was crystallized. It was beautiful.  A wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

I tried to take this with our Christmas lights on, but half blew into the gutter and are covered in snow.  The other half shorted out.  Drat.  Guess that is a sign that Christmas is over.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas

Photos from the Hayes International Airport.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Projects projects...

I've been keeping busy the last few weeks on several different projects.  Some were successful and others not so much.  My homemade bath bombs was a pass fail.  They were a huge mess to make and didn't turn out pretty, but they do work quite well in the tub.  They left my skin feeling soft and silky smooth.

Oatmeal Bath Bombs
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. oatmeal 
2 T. citric acid
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. almond oil
1 T. water
Mix dry ingredients, slowly add oil, then water.  Press into molds and remove after 12 hours.  The site didn't mention they would explode out of their molds like an 8th grade volcano science project.  It was ugly and messy, but they did work great.


Next I had some cucumber leftover.  I have been wanting to try this toner forever.  

Cooling Cucumber Toner
1/2 cucumber with peel, chopped
3 T. Witch Hazel
2 T. distilled water
Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the solids, then pour into a clean bottle with a tight fitting lid.  Store in the refrigerator so it will last longer.  It didn't last more than 3 weeks, so it was a disappointment.


My next project was making serviceberry syrup. I got this recipe from the Ball canning cookbook.

Service Berry Syrup
2 quarts of berries
6 c. water
1 T. lemon peel
3 c. sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Boil berries for 15 minutes.  Sieve through cheesecloth.  Combine with sugar and boil until 230 F.  Add lemon peel and juice.  Boil another 20 minutes.  Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

I finished a wood project that I started this summer.  It took me a while to figure out how to put the handles on this breakfast tray.  
 Finally, some food.  I've been craving chocolate, so I gave these two projects a try.  This is just pomegranate between melted dark chocolate chocolate chips.  I really like this.  It is the perfect blend between sweet and juicy.
I got the idea from the following blog.  I've made it in cupcake tins and didn't think it worked very well.  This time I put them in a little cake pan lined with tin foil.  I was much happier with the results.

I have my chocolate fix now.  I also made these Brigadeiros.  They are a Brazilian version of a bon bon.
3 T. Dutch Processed Cocoa (I just used plain old cocoa)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 T. unsalted butter
Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Let cool until you can roll it into a ball.  Then roll in a topping of your choice.  YUM.


There you have it some winter projects.  Some were great others were ok.  I am sure everyone else is busy with Christmas projects.  What are some of your favorites?