Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cross Words

It's another Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock but this time it's only a black box. Well, what to do, what to do! Here are the instructions. (Yes, only 25 words max)

WORD COUNT - Not to exceed 25 words. Yes, that is correct. 2. 5. Twenty-five. XXV.


Hey, I need a 10 letter word for absurd. Shh, can you just shove that space over one square? "Ridiculous," that works!
(Happy Halloween!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Purina Farms Haunted Hayloft - A Kid's (Not So Scary) Event

It was a fantastic Friday night--Tops on the list was Purina Farms annual Halloween event, the Haunted Hayloft with our granddaughter, Taylor, my daughter, Becky, Pops and I. As you can see it's loaded with the cutest animals in Halloween finery from goats to pigs plus cats and dogs.

Now you see, this was also World Series Friday with our own St Louis Cardinals ready to take on the Texas Rangers- such a dilemma! Well, after some discussion it was settled. We would meet in Gray Summit (MO) at 5 PM, after all, it ended at 7:30 and with a 7 PM start, we wouldn't miss much. Anyway, I knew attendance would be light, even better for us.

We met in the parking lot and made a bee line to the Hayloft where awaited mazes of straw with crawly tunnels, corn cribs swinging ropes and the "spooky" haunted loft. Spooky if you call sleepy piggies, strutting chickies and goats in bee costumes spooky- too funny.

Having been there for the past several years, we were ready for the big stuffed dog to stand up or grab your hand (LOL)! We dashed into the strobe light room to dance round and round, laughing as we seemed to move from here to there instantaneously! Taylor, of course, had to lay down in the "grave yard." She must be our little zombie since she was able to rise up and get her bag of candy.

The Haunted House was not really this bright but my camera doesn't do well without the flash. They had some "spooky" scenes.

And some not so spooky too!

There is always the magician with his rope tricks. (Shhhh, we'll just pretend we didn't see that rope hanging out of his coat)

There were the herding demonstrations plus some jumping over at the pool area.

They are famous for their multi story Victorian Cat house complete with furniture and carpeting. You can climb the staircase to the top and watch them all the way up.

Always a story telling, the same one each year. This is the part I look forward to!

There are hay rides, face painting, pumpkin painting, food and drinks, cow milking demonstrations, animal petting and jack-o-lanterns everywhere you look.

Plus lot of history, displays and hands on things for kids to do.

And guess what???? CARDS WIN!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Surprise Radishes

Look what I found! On my way to the chicken coop I decided to check the couple of raised beds on the side of the house. I planted some radish seeds plus collards but they hadn't done much. Well it was wet and cold, my husband had just had oral surgery so I offered to put up the birds for him. As I passed by I noticed something red and guess what! Radishes, several of them, and they were big!

Our spring radishes were a failure. First the cold, wet spring with buckets of rain. Then came the sweltering heat with bugs aplenty. No radishes, lettuce or whatever kohlrabi is - that's my neighbor's choice. Everything bolted.

Now we have radishes, and they are hot. They aren't keeping as well as store bought radishes. They are softening so I've done something wrong- or didn't do something. Either way, we know it's better for us to grow them in the fall next year. But just look at them- how pretty!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Embroidery Help Needed !

I am a novice when it comes to hand embroidery- learning those skills from the past, without a tutor. I see so many beautiful embroidered pieces on the blogs and I know the embellishment was not part of the pattern. Here is where I get stuck. The sheeps' curls were printed, so I could follow that. There really are no curls on the corner of the smaller sheep. The basket handle and rim I tried to fill in myself.

I'm horribly disappointed withe the stars. I will be pulling out the yellow filling that I made way too messy. But what do I do to keep the stars separate and yet not make it too busy with the branches that filter through? I would color it in with the crayon technique but I can't iron them or I lose the transfer pattern. I suppose I could go over it with a pen.

Any suggestions would be welcome. I have the Aunt Martha's iron on transfers plus some Crabapple Hill patterns in my stash.

How do you know what to fill with if it's not a leaf or flower?
When you are not using counted cross stitch material how do you know the best layout? I"m using muslin and then I will soak it in coffee or tea.
Are there any sites that have great examples that I can work from?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pretty Little Things

Oh the wonderful Pretty Little Things we collect over the years, some lovingly handed down through generations and others that someday will be. Some are worn but beautiful in our eyes, others delicately handled with barely a blemish. All loved throughout the years.
This Indian doll was passed down through family members and now bides her time in my spare bedroom displayed on the dresser. We know it was made at least in the 40s, if not prior, owned by a relative who had no children to pass it on to so it made its way to my grandmother and then to me many years ago. She is one of my favorites.

The beautiful baby doll that rests in pieces near pretty birds. And the heart shaped ceramic dish topped with a chipped flower, holder of my grandmother's bobby pins and other toiletries.

Or the jockey on a silver horse, was he originally adorned with this ribbon or did someone embellish it with their own special touch? God Bless America proclaims the vintage button- the horse a product of Japan.

Tiny tea sets sit side by side, this one very unusually colored.

A more traditional set, mixed of course.

I am a sucker for animal statues.

Vintage or modern. Did you notice the ashtrays?

And could it get any cuter than this metal advertisement!

link to on line cow info

I love the Pretty Little Things.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Story Grove: I Planted a Little Story Seed

Another Saturday, another Centus over at Jenny Matlock

The Challenge:

THE PROMPT THIS WEEK IS: I planted a little story seed...
WORD COUNT - Not to exceed 100 words, plus the six words of the prompt. 106 total maximum words.
NO ADDITIONAL PICTURES (awww! I love pictures - ku)

I planted a little story seed out by the paw paw tree,
And nourished it every day with tales of land and sea.
Gnomes and wizards, kings and queens and little pigs that fly,
Timeless adventures of pirate ships and birds baked into pie,
As the seed grew day by day, each new leaf held a story,
For the little ones to pick and read fantastic of tales of glory.
And then one day it flowered and scattered seeds anew,
Creating endless groves of tales across the whole world too.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Want to Live Here

Every year we look forward to Deutsch Country Days in Marthasville, MO where volunteers reenact 1800s life in this German settlement. In addition there is now a 1700s section, The Osage Trail, dedicated to the Osage Indians that populated the area at the time. Exhibits include fur trappers, bow making and various type of shelter from teepees to earthen homes.

They demonstrate the spinning and dying of yarn. (I want to do this)

The lanes are lined with crafting shops- pipe making, wood turning, brewers of root beer, candle dipping, cross cut sawing, scrimshaw- on and on. Many are hands on, child and adult alike. On a corner here and there might be penny whistle players or a guitar and hammered dulcimer duo playing joyful waltzes to sad, mournful tunes.

A rainbow of colors, these hand made brooms line up awaiting the journey to their new homes.

The mule powered sorghum press is quite an attraction. Visitors line up as the sorghum is boiled and poured into crocks for sampling. Go over to the general store and try a sample or two of sorghum puffs too-some are chocolate covered! Delicious.

Thirsty? Then come over to the apple press for a sweet drink. You can walk away with apple butter, jellies, candies, cookbooks and of course pretty souvenirs of your day.

The barn yard offers visitors a chance to interact with cows, goats, chickens and pigs. The goats stole the show, of course.

The beautiful woven beehive trio sits on display and not for sale. At the time the settlers would use a basket to entice a swarm of bees; however, to extract the honey they would need to destroy the hive which also destroyed the bees. They discovered that by stacking the baskets, the bottom two having holes on top, would act similar to a modern day super so they could extract only the honey leaving the bees in the other chamber. These are not the preferred method of beekeeping but demonstrates how the settlers lived.

A Missouri beekeeper association member, along with they Honey Queen, was on hand to demonstrate modern beekeeping plus selling wonderful jars of honey, honey straws flavored with peach, cinnamon or other tempting flavors, candles, cookbooks and of course wax. I purchase my honey a bit closer to home for the allergen benefit but did partake in some honey straws, a turned dipper and some wax.

The Osage Trail section was high up the hill, a little challenging for me on the way down due to knee problems. The Fur Trappers would demonstrate the techniques of trapping and tanning hides. Knife makers, bow making, mud baking ovens, flutes and flintnappers were sprinkled about. You could try your hand at tomahawk throwing and making fire starters from charred cloth.

Taylor has claimed her room- one with a view!

We tracked back to the wash building and kitchen demonstrations (see my earlier post on Janet Hurst cheesemaker)where the children could try using the hand agitated washer. My nephew was wringing out the wet fabric, granddaughter Taylor awaiting her turn. How wonderful it would be if all the children lined up to try these chores would be that eager with today's chores!

Soon it was time to say goodbye to the steam powered saw mill, the soap makers, corn husk dolls, needle crafters and life that looks good to me. We'll be waiting for next year.

Their next project is the Timber Frame Barn Project that, according to their website:
"The "Barn Center" will accommodate one hundred guests for meetings, banquets, overnight stays or receptions with full kitchen facilities, as well as antique shows, art and music exhibitions. An elevator services all three levels to provide disable access."

Their Heritage Foundation:
"Through the gifting of the Hostkoetter Family, the Luxenhaus Farm German Heritage Foundation, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, projects a teaching facility enabling year-round access for an educational, hands-on working farm during the homesteading period of German America."

They also offer classes (folk art link) for beginning blacksmithing, bowl turning, dulcimers, tin smithing, scherinschnitte (intricate paper cutting), basket weaving and woodcarving among others.

I want to live here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spicy Dogs and Spuds

We are celebrating Boss's Day tomorrow, each bringing in something quick and simple which is also office friendly. My contribution is typically brownies (by request) or something else equally as chocolate drenched. This time; however, we are having more substantial dining. It is also a Jeans Day with St. Louis Cardinals gear to celebrate our first World Series Game against the Rangers. So what do you bring that fits both categories, sports and bosses? Spicy Dogs and Spuds. Easy, has a bit of heat and kids of all ages seem to love it.

It's sort of like hot wings, except it's dogs and potatoes with some onion for good flavor. Slice up a package or two of hot dogs in little rings. Chop onion to taste. Add them to a hot butter/hot sauce mixture-in a large skillet over medium heat. I use Crystal hot sauce because it's not too over the top. No measurements but make sure to have at least a stick of butter. Heat the dogs and onions until the onions are tender. Remove from butter/hot sauce mixture and set aside.

Slice potatoes fairly thinly (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick), as many as you think you would like based on how many hot dogs you used.

Transfer the butter/sauce mix to a large pot deep enough to hold your potatoes, allowing enough room to toss them so they are well coated with the butter mixture. You could have cooked your onions/dogs here too but I just like the skillet. Add the potatoes to the butter hot sauce- add more butter/sauce as desired. Potatoes will absorb the flavors so don't make it too hot, you can always add hot sauce but it's hard to dilute it.

When they are tender, return the hot dogs and onions to the potato pot and toss until well coated. You can stop here or melt some cheese over the mixture which is even better. I dip the dogs in mustard and eat the potatoes separately, but I'm like that!

For the office I will heat these in a crock pot in one of the empty cubicles, where we have a toaster oven plus our supplies. I'm not sure we're really supposed to cook here but no one ever says anything and the aromas certainly give it all away!

You can substitute anything you would like for the hot dogs: chicken, sausages, other chopped meats. I hope it's a winner, just like our bosses' and the Cardinals!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Janet Hurst, Cheesemaker at Deutsch Days 1800s Demo

We met Janet Hurst yesterday at the Deutsch Country Days in Marthasville, MO held at Luxenhaus Farm. It is the 30th anniversary of this annual event that demonstrates German life in the 1800s with crafters and artisans aplenty.
"natural dyeing, German fractur, sad ironing, koppolei, wood turning, hide tanning, candle dipping, and rug braiding — just a handful of the eighty primitive skills exhibiting the early German life and trades. Period music, whistling steam, wood smoke and the sweet fragrance of cooking sorghum fill the crisp, autumn breeze".

Janet, farmer and writer out of Hermann, MO, was demonstrating goat milk cottage cheese in 1800s style cooking on a wood fired stove. As my husband discussed our desire to eventually raise goats for both milk and fiber she asked us to contact her if we would like assistance. She is associated with Lincoln University Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program that provides resources for those associated with small farms or raising animals.

We don't have a good book on cheese making so we took advantage of the situation and purchased her book, pictured here. I've made a cream cheese at home, seasoned with herbs for a soft cracker spread but would really enjoy making all the delicious varieties I see on everyone's blogs. Again, our someday cheeses!

I'll post a little later on in the week about Deutsch Days, a wonderful festival and perfect for a family outing. Little Taylor loved the newer Osage Trail (pre 1800s) section, complete with trappers, hide tanning and Indian flutes (just before the war drums started!!!).

If you would like to find out more about Janet and her cheese, she can be found at her website Cheese Writer or blog In Pursuit of Cheese.

Note: Linking to Simple Lives Thursday

Pondering on the Second Story Porch

It's another Saturday with Jenny- I think I may have to start a second blog just for Jenny fun!

Want to join too? Come on over to Jenny Matlock

Well, here it is, the new prompt:

WORD COUNT - Not to exceed 100 words.
STYLE OF WRITING - Sensory Details Literary Device

She set her book aside, resting her eyes as she lay on the padded plastic lounger on the upper porch. She drifted in and out as the warm, satin breezes blew across her face, wisps of long blond hair tickling her nose. She would hear the hawk’s piercing cries, riding thermals in their search for the next meal and the staccato pecking of the woodpeckers scavaging for bugs in rotting bark. She pondered the future, how long before she was long forgotten, and her beautiful porch fallen into ruin just like the old cabin next to the lake?

Word count: 98

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two Faced Bowl

I thought I would take a break from preparedness and just have a fun post about something pretty. Can you all see them? The two faces in this bowl?

Maybe you can see it a little better if I enlarge it. There are two, one on either side.

Isn't this interesting? The bowl came from my grandmother's home; however, I have no idea where she got it or how old it is, other than I remember it as a child. There are no markings on the back or I would try to research it a bit. Maybe I'll stumble across something similar some day that will give me a hint.

Hope you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Did You Hear About Z?

It's that time again- Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday! Today we will be studying the zippy letter "Z" Link on over here to read other entries.:

Did you hear about Z,
How he came to be?
You may not believe it,
But listen to me.
He was once something else,
Yes, that’s what I said,
See he’s just the letter N,
That fell on his head!

N Z . N. Z .N . Z . N . Z

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seasoned Potato Peels - No Waste During Dehydration

I dehydrate my potatoes after peeling and steam blanching them for about 5 minutes in a double boiler/steamer basket. Then I am left with the waste, compostable for sure, but they can be tasty as well. Wash your potatoes well and keep your discarded peels in a separate bowl. Once you are on your way to dehydrating, take some fat (Crisco, lard, oil) and get it nice and hot.

Take another bowl and mix a little flour and spices, whatever you like on potatoes. My choice was Tonys Creole Seasoning with a touch of Lawry's Seasoning, and a pinch of Salt.

Shake off the excess flour mixture, add peels to the oil a bit at a time, stirring occasionally to make sure all the peels are cooked through. At the end you have a nice plate of seasoned peels, crunchy and delicious.

You can just eat them plain or crumble them up to use as a topping for other dishes. So any way you look at it, there's no waste: a good compost material or tasty appetizer.