Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Projects

Oh those Christmas projects- and time is winding down. I have a couple of things going right now. One is a table runner made out of a Wrapped In Paisley Moda Charm Pack, precut 5 inch squares. The pattern is one of the three Little Charmers.

I'm not the best quilter, my lines are not always perfectly straight but I've only actually quilted a few times before and mostly on smaller things. My larger quilt was farmed out to a long arm quilter but I thought I'd do this one. The center is made out of half square triangles in half dark, half light patterns. Then you use a mixture of other dark colors to go around the half square triangles. Since I used a charm pack, everything matches.

I selected a small print maroon fabric for the backing. I now need to find something to bind it with. The backing is just folded over the front so you can see it against the patterns. It is not really stitched this way. (12/2/11) I found the binding material. It is the green with a small gold curl with tiny dots. It's part of the coordinating yardage that my quilt shop still had a little bit of. The same pattern as the backing but in green.

Here is what it looks like without binding. I will go to the quilt store Wednesday to see what they have available. This will probably be for Mom assuming it comes out ok.

I also had stashed away a couple of Moda Flurry charm packs that I'm making something out of. I haven't decided if it will be a lap quilt or something else. I saw an example on line using different material but she did use charms. There are quite a few possibilities depending on how you lay out the blocks.

You make a 9 patch using the varied patterns. Then you cut the entire 9 patch in half both ways so you have four 7 inch squares less any seam allowances. When you do, you will have one 4 1/2 inch square and then (2) 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 rectangles bordering it. Opposite it, you have a 2 1/2 x 2 1/2. A link to her tutorial is below.

I included an image of the charm pack. I have to finish the block I am working on now and then do another three or four. I may also supplement with some plain fabrics and then choose borders.

charm pack
Little Charmers 2

I hope your projects are coming along nicely!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Goat Milk Laundry Soap Giveaway

If you would like to have a chance to win some goat's milk laundry soap there is a giveaway over at Homestead Drying Racks. She is introducing Christy at Artisan Farmstead Living. There's a link below- just follow the instructions and you too will have a chance to win plus meet a couple of nice bloggers!


homestead drying racks blog link

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey and Dumplings- Thanksgiving Leftovers

We're having turkey and dumplings tonight. After stripping the turkey and dividing up the meat among households my husband decided to make some stock.

He included the celery and onions that were stuffed in the bird but added some extra for flavor. He used a large stock pot and added enough water to cover the carcass. It boiled for several hours until it tasted and looked done. Then he strained it and filled up the jars that we will freeze, making sure to leave plenty of head room for expansion.

He used some stock for the soup plus added carrots, peas, cayenne and garlic. The meat that remained on the carcass after dividing up the families' portions is also in the soup pot.

2 C sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
nutmeg to taste (ours is freshly grated)
2 TBL butter
1/2 to 3/4 milk- or whatever consistency you prefer
Ground sage (optional)

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sage and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter as if you were making a pie crust until the texture is like course meal. Gradually add milk blending until the batter is like oatmeal. Drop dough with a wet spoon into boiling dumpling pot on top of the meat and vegetables. The soup should be simmering hard on low heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Now we're letting it rest, cooling down a bit before digging in. My husband will have his plain but Taylor and I have a small salad and cranberry to round it out.

Good eats!

The dumpling recipe is from The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton. book link

Mutant Radish

I took a walk by the little side garden to check out the collard greens that are still thriving. I didn't know I was so close, if only there had been music. You know, the background warning music you always hear in the horror movies.

Then I saw it .. . . .


WOW- this is a biggie. I don't know if it will be any good, but we're going to find out! If you don't hear from me soon please contact the authorities!

(watch for our turkey and dumplings recipe later- if we survive!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Gather Together . . .

It was Thanksgiving ages ago, when Dad was still alive and suffering from an infected tooth. We all gathered at the table: my aunt, uncle and cousin plus our neighbors with their kids. Soon things took a turn for the worse.

My young cousin complained of not feeling well so his parents left the table to attend to him. In the meantime, the neighbor was trying to get her kids to eat sweet potatoes. “But I’ll get sick if I have to taste these,” cried the oldest. After getting a stern look from his mother, he agreed to try a bite- just one bite, and promptly threw up which caused the remaining siblings to also throw up, in unison. Off the women went to clean up kids.

Did I mention Dad was on strong pain killers? They must have kicked in pretty good. We figured it out when a familiar tune came drifting down the hall. There was Dad, all alone at the table, singing. Singing? When we listened closely, we noticed a slight change of lyrics: “I Gather Together to ask the Lord’s Blessing. . . “

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

PS Don't force your kids to eat anything they don't like!

Linking to Jenny Matlock

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pork Tenderloin on the Rotisserie

One pork tenderloin, leaving fat on, seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning.
Put it on the spit and let it spin for 2 hours- give or take.
In the meantime make some mashed potatoes, green beans, prep the garlic bread.
Wait for your wife to come home from work and Bingo- Dinner.
Yummy, right? We have leftovers!

Yes, my husband is the cook- it's better that way!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just Like Steak N Shake Does It

Is there anything better than a Steak N Shake french fry? Thinly sliced, petite and salty? Yummmy! My husband was home today so he got a jump on dehydrating another 30 lbs of potatoes after the grocery store had a tremendous Thanksgiving special- 10# for less than $2.00! I said it would be great to have some homemade potato chips tonight too.

He got out the mandolin and began slicing, 12 trays in the dehydrator -to start- and a couple of potatoes into chips and, to top it off (drum roll please) Steak N Shake style fries!

We had to experiment with the chips a bit. The first ones were a little too thin and crispied up quickly. I have to tell you - they were still great! The thicker ones cooked a little better. They were good too! He sprinkled popcorn salt on them to give a nice overall coating but me, being the bad person that I am, added a few shakes of the regular stuff too.

Good eats!

Side Note:
Notice the old style stoneware? My resale shop find, a complete 12 piece set for $10. I love the old stoneware even if it does chip and crack! I have another complete set, even serving dishes, in the basement from a roadside estate sale!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nity Nites Christmas Cookies

It's a Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange over at The Way Grandmama Does It! Here's my contribution- a pretty little cookie that is very versatile, easy and terribly festive. The recipe is from my husband's grandmother, Millie, who was the Christmas Cookie go to gal. Every year the table would be graced with several varieties: weeks of baking and so very tasty. She would make up a tin for each household to take home.

These are technically meringues but with a twist- you mix them up, preheat the oven, slide in the cookie sheets and go to bed. Yes, that's right. Go To Bed- hence the name. Nity Nite!

Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F

2 egg whites
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp Vanilla or Almond extract
1 C pecans, chopped
1 C chocolate chips*

Beat egg whites until they become foamy and then stiff.
Gradually add the sugar and beat until well mixed in.
Fold in BY HAND:
Vanilla or almond
Chocolate chips

Drop cookies onto foil lined pans.
Place in the preheated oven.
Leave in closed oven at least 6 hours. Do not open door.

Peel off of the foil and garnish as desired.

I like to divide up the batter before I add the chips. I make some with plain chocolate chips and then change it up. Some are butterscotch, some with crushed peppermint, some a mixture of chocolate chips and peppermint. Then I dip some in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint or dip into sprinkles. Use your imagination. Quick, easy and pretty!

Oh, one thing. Tradition has it (in our family) that you MUST return the cookie tin once you are done with the treats. My fatal flaw when we were first married and our family NEVER lets you forget when you mess up (all in good humor). Boy, was I in trouble, I had no idea anyone returned tins. Imagine my surprise after Millie passed away. We were cleaning out her apartment storage locker and discovered probably a hundred tins, stacked to the top! I was amazed- and I wanted each and every one of them! LOL! Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Country Girl Learns to Drive

Taylor is 7 now, that's the right age to learn to drive- right? Her mom didn't think so, but Pop's was quite certain. She's a self proclaimed "country girl" afterall!

She has driven the four wheeler before. Well, let me say she has steered it, sitting with one of us, going slowly. This was her first attempt to drive something on her own.

She had her dry run with Pops but wanted me to watch her. As Pops went inside to get me he glanced back when she wasn't looking. There she was, sitting on the tractor in all her glory letting out a big WOO HOO!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Donated Mulch

We have a bunch of mulch! All free, how frugal is that? Our local utility comes by every 10 years or so to trim back the trees that grow along the side of our county roads. These trees grow wild, they are not maintained by homeowners and tend to take down the power lines during strong storms.

The paper posted the trimming schedule so my husband made sure to run into the crew when they came out our way. They come by with a cherry picker and a large chipper shredder truck. It seems that they were having to drive about 10 miles every time they needed to empty their trucks so he offered to take it off their hands. They would trim a bit and then empty on our side lot.

We'll not use this around the house or around any ornamentals but it makes a fine layer for the garden. We try to use the lasagna method of layering compost, newspaper, manure and straw, creating new soil. As you can see, we have a pretty big pile going so far. I don't know how much we will get, they are still trimming, in fact, they haven't even gotten to our street yet.

As I mentioned, this is a once in a decade opportunity so we thought we'd take advantage.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And the Limb Came Tumbling Down

I knew it was a matter of time but I didn't know when that time would be. This amazingly large branch fell from one tree and became lodged in the top of another, way, way up there, higher than we could reach. I have been worried that it would come crashing down on someone so I am delighted that we had our windstorm last night. Down it came at the most optimal time, in the middle of the night!

Taylor spotted it this morning. She wanted to go outside and play but I kept telling her it was too windy. In years past it would be to avoid messing up my hair, but now it was to avoid the trees, something that has happened all too often in the past.

We live on wooded acreage and cut the trees back far enough to avoid the disasters you often see on the news, unless something launches them such as a tornado. I remember one particularly bad year after a terrible ice storm. We sat in the living room listening to the cracking and watching one after the other fall in the woods. We've had several blow down taking roots and all. So I am pretty cautious when it comes to dangling branches.

Taylor, of course, had to lay down pretending that she was squashed beneath the beast. Kids!

The husband is cutting it up now and hauling it over to the the firewood stash. Taylor is supervising.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Preparedness- House Maintenance

My husband discovered a sneaky leak that caused our main supporting beam to gradually rot away over the last ten years beneath the "wonderful" metal covering that was supposed to protect it from weather.

With cash in hand my husband ordered the replacement material which was delivered on our first really chilly day of the year, damp and cold. Fortunately, his friend and employer, Don, was available to work. It's a pretty big job, especially for a couple of old carpenters, nevertheless, they began bracing the upper porch so they could remove and replace the beam before the first heavy snows arrive. They lifted the porch by lifting the entire upper porch with hydraulic jacks.

Several hours later I received a photo at work via e-mail. They survived and so did the porch. Still, there were several more hours of work ahead of them.

On to day 2.

About 14 hours into the job, things were looking pretty good. The treated beam is now covered in fiber cement material which should prevent this from happening in the future. It still needs to be caulked and painted, along with the columns, but it sure looks better than the old covering.

You can see how much damage there was. It still needs a good good power washing for both porches before repainting. The first floor porch ceiling and fans will need to be re installed (65 slats of ceiling to hammer in). Then, we should be good for awhile. Thank goodness my husband discovered this in time and was able to repair it so quickly.

Unfortunately he needed some oral surgery and subsequent treatment for the infection that set in so it laid him up for a couple of weeks. He's one of those tough guys that never complains- torn achilles (he splinted himself and worked through it), torn tendon in his arm that had to be pinned, broken ribs, etc. This one got to him- pain clear up the side of his face and into his head. How is it that I can tell he's infected but the dentist can't? Guess what, after a day on antibiotics he was feeling pretty perky!

Well, it got rainy and cold so painting is delayed which means my porch is still incomplete. Hopefully he can work on this next week because today is, afterall, opening day for deer season (gun).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

C.E.R.T. Graduation

I am now an official graduate of the Community Emergency Response Team. My husband and I, along with our neighbor, decided to take part in this eight week course which is attached to FEMA. The all volunteer organization was created by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks to train civilians to be first responders in time of crisis when the professionals are overwhelmed. Examples would be to assist after an earthquake, weather related disasters that would include tornadoes or snowstorms and catastrophic highway accidents among others. It could even be a disaster at a public event such as an amusement park or sporting event.

We have been told point blank, in the event of a large scale disaster we are on our own. Not for the 48-72 hours that many of us have prepared for, but for a week or better, several weeks depending on the nature of the problem. On top of this, we live outside the city in a very rural setting so getting help out here will take longer than in the more populated areas. This means potentially no electricity, no phones, no water, no toilets if you are on a well system, no running to the store for food or medicine, no heat or airconditioning. This is something you have to consider- remember Joplin. It happens in the blink of an eye.

We've learned quite a bit, everything from what NOT to do (Don't try to be a hero in questionable situations, you'll likely become the problem and take away someone's chance to be helped) to turning off utilities, assess the damage to buildings, proper wound bandaging, splinting, how to set up a medical area and triage to properly extinguishing fires using the correct method for each class of fire. There are certain markings that are placed on buildings which look similar to graffiti but provide search and rescue data- something very important to rescue.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork. If you aren't the type that is capable of carrying someone out of a building or other physical activities, don't worry. There is a job for everyone. Someone has to log in the helpers, log in and out equipment, take names of victims, their condition and where they are taken or transported, damage assessment reports and it goes on and one.

You can be the runner finding bandages, boards or carrying information. There is a job for everyone. CERT's assistance is not only limited to disasters. They also may assist the police or fire departments by providing assistance at events or even to hand out educational literature at fairs or even door to door during a Change Your Battery campaign for smoke detectors.

Our next big event is scheduled later this month as we join with the Partner Agency Shelter Operations Workshop. "After completing this workshop, participants will be able to

• Identify what services are involved in operating a shelter.
• Describe the roles and responsibilities of each shelter operation position.
• Describe important shelter resident information.
• Match their interests, abilities and skills with those needed in each partner agency shelter.
• Develop a plan of action for activation and operation of their partner agency shelter."
workshop link

Think about taking CERT training. It's OK if you take the training and don't volunteer for any other activities. It's enough that you know what to do in an emergency to keep you and your family safe. If everyone had just a little training it would go a long way. You can band together with your neighbors to make sure your neighborhood is prepared.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Taylor's 7th Birthday

Today Taylor received her quilt- I finished in time! Her birthday is not until Tuesday but we celebrated today since they live about 20 miles away. Taylor seemed to love everything.

Mom, Becky, made sure Taylor read her birthday cards herself- aloud to practice her reading skills.

Great Grandmother Ann sent the 7th figurine in her Precious Moments birthday train. In addition to some "fun" Barbie accessories, coloring books and card games.

Then we went next door to celebrate with my husband's father, Great Grandpa Dick but I left the camera at home so the photos end here! Needless to say, Taylor had a fine day.

(Please disregard the mini blinds- we used to have indoor cats. They don't mix well with blinds, especially if there was something exciting on the other side!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Looking for Natural Remedies

Calling for help- I'm trying to develop reference documents for natural remedies that can be found in your own backyard, for instance, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, pain killers, etc. If you have a tried and true remedy, please send me a link to your post(s) or website.

As an example, if we have an infected tooth and for one reason or another can't get to a dentist or obtain a prescription, what would we do? What about a cut that has the potential to become infected? Natural remedies for pain killers.

I'm thinking about printing them and storing them in a three ringed binder divided into categories, just in case one day I need this information at my fingertips- and I don't have a computer,

Just in case. Thanks!

image only link

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Quilt for Taylor's 7th Birthday

I am almost finished, just a little binding to go. In fact, just the back side of the binding since I sewed it to the front last night. I don't think I sew well enough to use the machine for the back. I'm sure my lines would appear wavy if I tried to "stitch in the ditch."

It's taken quite awhile to complete this quilt because I'm not one to sit down for a long stretch of time on the same thing. I'll do a little here, a little there. I may cut out squares for an hour but not sew anything for a few days. Then it was summer after all, it was nice outside! Then I sent it out for the quilting, my machine can't do anything that large. Then there was the servicing on the machine that took a couple of weeks. Now I'm down to the wire!!

It all started with a little inspiration fabric designed by Laurel Burch. Then some extremely colorful fabrics that I mixed up in a patchwork for each 12 inch square. I made sure there was no set pattern, although it looked like there was going to be. Then the squares have a piece of the inspiration fabric in them.

I thought about getting some coordinating Burch fabric for the backing until I saw this. It had to be a pretty strong backing to be able to stand up to the front, and this worked plus I had enough to bind it as well.

The sashing is a variegated batik- it's all the same fabric, just changes colors here and there.

It gets real pink in spots but I kept more to the blue/purplish side with a little pinkness thrown in but the really pink pieces are back in the stash.

Maybe I have enough of the binding/backing left over to make a pillow case trimmed with it. We'll see, but it will be for Christmas, not next week!

I added a completed photo and linking to Crazy Mom Quilts

Linking to Jenny Matlock Alphabe-Thursday

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

End of Season Veges

What to do with these green tomatoes? The red ones are being dehydrated now, along with an odd apple or two (yummy)! I'd like to try some of the delicious looking fried green tomatoes and some of the green tomato relish (salsa really, as long as it's not too hot). I'll have to scroll down the blog roll and find some great ideas.

I have the last of the radishes in the side garden, boy are they hot! My husband just had oral surgery so he's missing out right now. He is the real radish fan here.

One of my little pumpkins is starting to show its age-much too small to think about cooking it- so it will go back into the garden so it's seeds will bring us more little guys next year. It seems the pumpkins that grow best are the volunteers. I never did get the big ones to come up.

It's time to clean up the garden area and start thinking about next year. We'll definitely be doing some things differently next year.