Thursday, February 21, 2019

Good Day on the Home Front

For our first meal of the day today, I made Cheesy Egg Wedges which I haven't made for a while.  Wonder why as they are so tasty.  Well, I guess I do know why.  Cottage cheese is an ingredient and we usually gobble up the cottage cheese I make with either chopped up raw veggies or cut up fruit.  But I had just enough left today to use, so something made me remember this particular breakfast dish and I made it.

The original recipe serves six and is made in a 9" pie plate.  I halved the recipe this morning, baked it in a funny little 7-1/2" pie plate I have, and we still have one-half left over for breakfast tomorrow morning.  The eggs were served with a dollop of salsa on top, augmented by coleslaw made from some of our red cabbage and a sausage patty for each of us.

Fortified by that meal, we went out to clear the few inches of snow we got late yesterday.  I shoveled and Papa Pea shoveled and plowed.

Back inside, I tackled the jumble of papers and graphs and designs I've had spread out on the kitchen table and kinda, sorta, almost, nearly finished my garden plans for this coming season.   

All twenty-six 4' x 8' raised beds are figured out but for one small glitch.  Some dummy forgot to make a notation of which bed she planted the garlic in last October.  I even have a picture of it from a blog post I did then.

I've looked at this picture from all angles including upside down, but hard as I've tried, I can't tell exactly which bed it is.  Even though the bed is heavily mulched and has a cattle panel lying on top of it, which kept the mulch from blowing off in our fall winds, it's now thoroughly buried under a good quantity of lovely, white snow as are all the rest of the beds.  Bottom line, I may have to do a little quick juggling come spring when the garlic bed emerges from the snow.  I've left myself a little wiggle room to do that.

Other than making sure I rotate the crops planted in the field garden (as I do in the raised beds) and two new areas we've been working up for the past couple of years, there aren't so many different varieties of vegetables to pencil in for those areas.  It's mainly the veggies that need more room (potatoes, beans, pickling cukes, cabbage, shell peas, squashes) that are planted in the larger areas. 

This year (silly me), I'm also planting a block of Painted Mountain Corn.  It's the only corn variety I've ever grown successfully up here in Minnesota.  Being totally frustrated by our corn being laid flat by our high winds the last couple of years I did plant it means this year we've got to figure out a way of surrounding and supporting the corn patch to prevent it from happening again this year.  We've got a couple of ideas, and I would so love to get a good crop again.

Picture from the last time I grew it.

 When the ears are harvested at the right (early) time after development, they are actually good eating as "sweet" corn.  The dried corn is wonderful ground as cornmeal and the beautiful ears make outstanding fall decorations.

This afternoon 'twas time to strain and stash away the beef bone broth I've had simmering during the day.  Did that and made a big pot of cheddar-cauliflower soup for tonight.

The last couple of times I've made this, I've added cook wild rice, and we really like the added flavor and texture it gives to the soup.

More snow, possibly heavy, is predicted for this weekend.  I guess we'd better keep our boots handy and shoveling muscles at the ready.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Past Mid-Winter and All Is Well

Here we are fast approaching the last of February, a month that has given us many bright, beautiful, sunny days.  Not warm yet, by any means, but that good ol' sunshine makes the still cold temperatures much more tolerable.

Even though true spring time may be firmly in sight for some of you, we've still got the heavy snows of March coming up in our area of northern Minnesota.

We actually get the majority of inches of our snowfall in the month of March.  But it's a different kind of snow, one that falls and then melts to a certain degree with increasingly warmer temperatures.  We still have to plow and shovel but often it can be done wearing a sweatshirt rather than four layers under a down work jacket.

I started to make some beef gravy to have on hand in the freezer a day or so ago only to discover I was plumb out of beef bone broth.  So this morning I've got two of my medium-sized stock pots full of browned, organic, grass-fed beef soup bones.  Sure does create a delightful aroma wafting through the house.

When the meat is tender, I'll cut it off the bones and wrap it in packages to have in the freezer for beef hash, soups and stews, etc.  Then the bones go back into the pots with the water-turning-into-broth to simmer for the next couple of days.  Recommended time for simmering is 10 to 12 hours, probably the longer the better.

The resulting broth is brown, flavorful and quite gelatinous, chock-full of nutrition and all kinds of good stuff.  Lots of amino acids, plus it's said to protect joints and help fight osteoarthritis while reducing inflammation in the body.  The broth heals the gut and helps to speed our body's healing process.  It may even give us better skin, hair and nails while aiding in our much needed restorative sleep and could encourage weight loss.  Who can't love all that?

This morning I also spent some quality time in the basement with our remaining onions and garlic.  It's necessary to sort through them periodically and toss any that have soft spots . . . or worse.

We still have plenty of garlic.  The bigger bulbs in the front are Siberian and the smaller ones in the back are Blanak.  I planted this coming year's crop from the biggest of each variety last fall.

I'm hoping the onions will last at least until some scallions are ready in the garden this spring.  We had two full milk crates of both the yellow (Stuttgarter Riesen) and the red (Red Comred).  The remaining yellows fill about half of one crate and the reds fill about 3/4 of another.

Both the onions and garlic keep well for us in the dry basement at about 52 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next today is a haircut/beard trim for a shaggy Papa Pea and then I'll sit at the kitchen table and start planning where everything will be planted in this year's garden.

Yikes, it's 2 o'clock and I have no idea what to make for our second meal of the day at 4:30.  Better decide that pronto!


Sunday, February 17, 2019

To Tell the Truth

Here's a question for you to answer.  Ready?  Gonna tell the truth?

What's the one spot in your home that would embarrass you terribly if an acquaintance saw it?

I'll be the first to be brave and answer my own question.

Under the bathroom sink.

Okay, you wouldn't find any skeletons or shameful secret things there.  Just the usual.  You know, toilet bowl brush and cleaner, plunger, sponge for cleaning the sink, bottle of Windex, roll of paper towels, shower stall cleaner spray bottle, small bottle of Ivory liquid soap used for washing out my unmentionables in the sink, etc.  

But how often do I pull everything out and clean the floor? 

The answer is not nearly often enough.  As I happened to (really) look under there this morning I thought, yep, that would be my most embarrassing spot.

But wait.  Nope.  Maybe there is somewhere else that is . . . dum-da-dum-dum . . . worse.

Ooooh, ya.  Under. our. king-size. bed. 

Oh, my.

What could be there that would be embarrassing, you ask?

Eight boxes of flooring that we purchased and planned on installing on the bedroom floor.  Maybe six years ago?  Okay, eight.  Two big rolls of the foam underlayment for same floor installation.

A box of candles of all assorted shapes and sizes.  A box of packages of assorted construction paper.  A box of tissue paper.  What?  You don't store these things under your bed?

A box of my mother's cookbooks I brought home with me when we cleared out her apartment after her death.  In 1997.

A scale.  Which I have not stepped foot on for somewhere around ten years.  Why?  I'm petrified thinking of what I would be forced to face if I did.

Two storage tote boxes of my husband's shoes which will be in very good condition for the rest of his life.  Because I think there are only two pairs that I've seen him pull out and wear on rare occasions since he retired eleven years ago.

But the really embarrassing thing that is under the bed is the herd of rapidly multiplying dust bunnies.  I obviously clean under there less frequently than I do under the bathroom sink.

Now it's your turn.  What is the spot in your home you would least want a (snoopy) guest to see?  Tell the truth.  I'll keep it as our little secret and won't share it with anyone else.  (Hee-hee.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine Wishes, Sent And Received

I'm a bit late (although it still is Valentine's Day as I write) in sending all of you hearty (pun intended, and not a very good one) wishes on this the 14th day of February.  Hope you all had a good day in whatever way you spent it.

Thank you for your Red Heart Day wishes sent here to Minnesota.  Especially a very special one I received from Wisconsin.

Chicken Mama stopped by on her way home tonight and gave us this tin full of chocolate heart confections she made.

They're made with organic ingredients, chocolate that is so pricey I feel guilty eating it, and a luscious cream coconut filling that tastes like Mounds Bars used to taste (only better) when they were made with real ingredients.  (Way back when.)  This sweet treat is her dad's favorite and I will have to hide them somewhere and portion them out or he'll OD on them for sure.

(Susan, recognize the red and black cloth the tin is on?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Simply Beautiful Handwork

A friend of mine "inherited" several pieces of old handwork and asked me if I would like to have this piece of cross-stitching.

I gladly accepted it and have it in my quilt room, but think I'd like to display it in our living room when I find just the right spot for it.

It's 16" wide and 10" deep and is meant to be placed hanging over a shelf.  Possibly with a silver tea service on the shelf above or maybe some special porcelain figurines.  In our house, it will most likely have books on the shelf above it.

It's done all in cross-stitch except for the edging around the two sides and bottom.

No doubt about it, whoever did this piece was an expert with needle and thread.  But the remarkable part of it to me is the back side.

Those of you who have done this type of stitching will recognize the unbelievably well thought out execution of the stitches on the front so that the back looks as perfect as it does.

Wooo-eee.  Something for which I could strive . . . but I know it's highly unlikely I'll ever achieve the talent of this unknown handwork artist.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Winner of Winter Potholders

What a lovely surprise to see so many of you interested in having a chance to receive the potholders I offered as a giveaway!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you who entered your name for the drawing.

I do wish I could send a set to each of you, but good golly, I'd be at my sewing machine day and night busily turning them out until time for planting the garden.  (Hmmm, doesn't sound like a bad job to me.)

Okay, trumpets please.  The name drawn was:

Leigh, of 5 Acres and a Dream homestead

The potholders will be wending their way southeastward as soon as I get them packaged and into the post office in town.

Once again, thank you all so much for your very kind words while expressing an interest in the giveaway.  You encourage me to do this more often.  Some of you know how much I enjoy inflicting my quilted potholders on most anyone interested so this will happen again.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Giveaway In Honor Of Our Winter Weather

I know several of you have already been talking about balmy temperatures, starting seeds soon for this season's garden and posting pictures of early spring flowers poking up.

Because of that I've hesitated offering these quilted winter-themed potholders here on the blog as a giveaway because the winter season seems to be all gone and over for some of you.

But, boy howdy, it's sure not the case here.  Today we've gotten about 6" of new snow accompanied by lots of blowing snow and a temperature high of 8F above.  It will be a long time before our winter's over.

So if anybody's interested, here is the set of potholders I'm giving one of you a chance to receive.

Shades of blue, from that of a winter-y blue sky to snowflakes to a deep, dark navy which is sometimes the color of our night if there's no moonlight for reflection on the snow.

I put the last of that pretty blue printed winter scene fabric on both backs.  You might notice that the one on the left had to be pieced because I didn't have a second piece of the fabric big enough.  (Darn, I'm sorry I didn't buy more of it.)

If you're in a part of the country that is already into early spring, you could stash these away until next winter.

Just let me know in the comments section if you're interested in having your name put in the hat (it may be one with ear flappers in honor of our cold weather).  I'll draw a winner this coming Sunday night, the 10th, right after I shut off my computer at 9 p.m.  Be sure to get your entry in before that cut-off time, and I'll post the winner Monday morning.

Good luck to all of you who might be interested in receiving a reminder of what your winter was . . . or still is!

P.S.  I just took this picture of a corner of our living room windows.  The bottom of the windows are about 5' off the ground outside.  

No, the snow isn't that deep on the level, but there is presently a snow drift the wind has made all the way up on the window.  (Yay, more time for hibernating!)