Sunday, December 10, 2017

Coffee and Christmas cookies it is...

Coffee and Christmas cookies it is!  For once, I am ready for Christmas.  

The cards are written and awaiting stamps.  I promise I will stamp them.  One year I was in a hurry and mixed cards with stamps with the unstamped ones.  I didn't realize my mistake until over Christmas dinner my brother-in-law asked me why I didn't like him.  I wondered why he would think that.  He replied it was because he had to pay to get my Christmas card.  I was aghast.  The next year I sent an extra stamp in every Christmas card and apologized profusely for the error of my ways.
The cookies are made, but remain unfinished, because somebody forgot to buy powdered sugar.  That is no big deal.  I will get some tomorrow and my husband and I can finish our Christmas tradition of making cookies.  To be honest they are just as fabulous without the frosting.
White Cut Out Cookies
2/3 c. soft butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs    (Cream top three ingredients)
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in the milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. salt
3 1/2 c. flour
Bake 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees.  
(A book of Favorite Recipes compiled by the Happy Home Club Members, Former Members, and Friends)

 I have a simple string that I hang over the deck door for Christmas cards.  Every year I carefully put up three very important cards.  The first is the last Christmas card my Grandfather sent me.  He was an old rancher and always coming up with funny things.  Here is what the inscription says:  "My pickup has been broke down so I didn't get to town.  I had some cards left from last year.  This is one I got last year.  I thought it was such a good picture, I cut it in two and I am sending it to you.  It reminds me of the way we used to feed when I was home...."  I tear up every year when I hang it.  He was a true cowboy.  The other card was made by my brother.  He cut out the reindeer and used toothpaste to glue it to the paper.  He is as ingenious as our grandfather.  The top one is a beautiful cross stitch done by my good friend Jody.  She is one of the most thoughtful people I know.
I wasn't going to decorate the cabin, because nobody braves the snow to come see us.  The next thing I knew I put a few things here and there.  I didn't overdo it.  Just enough to make things cozy.  All of the decorations on the antler chandelier are from my friend in Denmark.  The candle votives are very pretty and well made.  This morning I truly enjoyed my coffee surrounded by the spirit of Christmas.
The presents are wrapped.  Labels for the boxes are made.  I just need to find a few more boxes to send things in.  I will have it all mailed by the end of the week.
We have had a lot of snow and some pretty nasty winds.  This weekend was a nice break.  It warmed up and the wind stopped blowing.  Our resident buck is still wandering around.  He is a handsome fellow.

We took advantage of the calm weather to burn one of our piles of cut up trees and brush.  I took advantage of the fire to roast a few marshmallows.  Yes those are pajama bottoms and a bag of marshmallows under my arm.  I love roasted marshmallows.  

What do you have left for Christmas?  What kind of cookies do you make?  Is there a special tradition or reminder of Christmas past?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Another week gone by...

I have been busy this weekend.  A good friend and colleague retired.  He was one of the best teachers I have had the pleasure to learn from.  His wisdom, humor, and honesty will be missed.  I wish him and his wife the best of luck on their new endeavors.   While in town, I got a majority of our Christmas shopping done.  That always makes Christmas more enjoyable.

Back on the home front I bottled several wines:  Red Letter Raspberry and Golly Gee Grape.  The raspberry is my favorite.  Wine making is one of my favorite hobbies.  Anymore, people bring me berries. I make wine and give them a cut.                                                                                                                                                                                          I also experimented with pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes.  They were delicious.  I also experimented with Hershey's Cookies and Cream chocolate chips.  My sister made cookies with them over Thanksgiving and I couldn't get the taste out of my head.  Luckily, I found some and immediately made some cookies.  They were perfect.  Both recipes were a thumbs up.

Other than that and cleaning house not much has been happening on the home front.  Are you ready for Christmas?  Have you tried any experimental recipes?   How did they turn out?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A walk in the woods...

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my sister and her crew.  The meal was great and we played a mean game of cards.  It isn't the best photo, but I have found it is difficult to get a action shot with five kids.
When we got home I needed to take a walk to wear off the turkey dinner and the five hour drive in a "breezy" forty mile an hour wind.  Have I ever mentioned Jeeps don't deal well with wind?  
The walk was very educational.  I saw plenty of deer sign.  Here is a rub.  It is where a buck marks his area and let's the does know he is around.  Someone asked if I hunt from my porch.  Actually, we have several hunting blinds and tree stands on our property.  The blinds are below.  There is nothing more enjoyable than watching the world go by from a hunting blind.  At our prairie property I have a big old cottenwood that blew down.  It is the perfect place to hunker down and watch the action. I was also asked if the turkeys in the last post were part of Thanksgiving dinner.  I promise you that they were not eaten.  Hills turkeys are very dry and stringy.

I checked out our pond on my walk with Ella.  The water level is down, but it is open and animals were definitely drinking from it.
I was quite bothered when I looked at the ice and saw a frog frozen in mid swim.  I've never seen anything like that before.  I don't know if you can see him in the photo below.  I wish I had taken my good camera.
It was a beautiful weekend.  Temps were in the 60's.  I was able to clean my greenhouse and flowerbeds.

That was my big Thanksgiving weekend.  It was great spending time with family.  I also appreciated that the weather allowed my to clean up the yard.  How was your Thanksgiving?  I hope the weather has been as forgiving for you.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fur and Feathers...

I was hunting last weekend.  I filled both my archery and rifle tags.  This weekend was spent processing my harvest.  Our freezer is stocked with 5lbs of Italian sausage, 5 lbs of summer sausage, and 5 lbs of breakfast sausage, numerous roasts, stew meat, and more unprocessed meat.  My husband made jerky on the smoker.  I still have more to jerk and grind, but I will do that later.  I wanted to taste test some new recipes before I committed all of my deer meat to a new recipe.
Nature provided plenty of entertainment while I was in the kitchen.  The turkeys are oblivious to the fact that Thanksgiving is only five days away.  If they were aware of the main entree I don't think they would be so bold.

The rut is on here and all day we watched the bucks chase does.  It began with this little nubber.
Slowly, the parade of deer produced more bucks.
This guy saw movement in the window and thought there may be a doe around.

It was hard to get anything done.  Every time we looked out the window there was a different group of deer.  This fella was a dandy.   He checked out the turkeys to make sure a doe wasn't hiding in their midst.  Then he was on his way.

My freezer is stocked and my soul is satisfied.  I am thankful that I can supply my own food and live where I can enjoy the creatures around me.  What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Something old is new again, but first a surprise...

I received a wonderful surprise from my brother.  He made me a Hobbit house for my garden.  It is perfect.  Can't you just picture it on a bed of moss?  Unfortunately, I now have to wait until June before I get to use it.

I haven't done a something old is new again post forever.  My husband traded some firewood for barn wood.  They even threw in a few old fence posts.

He was excited to start a new project.  A little cutting and sanding later a table slowly emerges.  The project was made even more special because some of the woods working tools were his father's.  Whenever we visited or they visited my husband and his father always worked on a woodworking project together.

I think my favorite part is when the old posts became table legs.  I love old posts with all of their individual characteristics.  Today's uniform posts have no history or personality.

Volia, a pile of 100 year old lumber becomes a table. My husband is full of ideas and I love that our cabin is filled with his projects.  What is a special piece of furniture in your home?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Darwin's Theory of Evolution...

I have been in a fret about this hummingbird all October.  I am lucky if I get one to stay a week and now that one has been homesteading.  I can't get rid of it fast enough.  

I am afraid these are probably the final photos of this little bird.  She was last sited on October 25th.  The next morning was freezing snow with driving winds.  I'm afraid she is a victim of Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  I will keep my eyes open next year, because you never know.  

Has the weather turned cold where you are?  Any animal abnormalities?  Other than worrying about the hummingbird, it has been pretty quiet around here.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Wild verses Civilized

Last weekend my dad took me on photo safari to the North Bend on the Missouri River.  We live by the West Bend.  The North Bend Recreation area is a long slow hill down to the Missouri River.  The drainage is known as Chaney Rush.  The area is wild and unpredictable.  We questioned our sanity when we began down the road and our pickup started sliding on the gumbo.  Once committed there was no turning back.  I wish the panorama did better justice to the drive. 

 Living there had to be hard.  The roads are gumbo and I'm sure the area was dangerous.  Floods, fire, and winter winds must have made for a tough life.
 When my father was a kid, he would help his grandfather work cattle in the now abandon corrals.  
From the vantage point above you can barely see West Bend on the other side of the river.  Below is the view from West Bend towards North Bend.  North Bend is wild and unpredictable while West Bend is developed and civilized.
 The West Bend boat dock has a beautiful bay area for the boat ramp and well maintained camping areas.

 The camping areas are paved and have electricity.  The place is trimmed, mowed, and maintained.  
I have to say that my preference is the wild and unpredictable.  Which side is your favorite?