Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After The Day Before

Even though our Thanksgiving Day yesterday was a lovely, calm, relaxing day (yes, it was 'cause I cooked and baked everything I could on Wednesday which really, really helped me not feel like I spent the whole holiday yesterday in the kitchen), it somehow feels as though today I need to spend the day in my old, comfy, around-the-house cords (with the elastic waist . . . ahem) and have a regrouping and getting back into the regular routine kind of day.  (Geesh, was that whole paragraph one sentence?  I need to hire a blog post editor.)

All the turkey bones, bits of scraps and pieces, are simmering in my huge stock pot on the stove.  Although I make tons of chicken bone broth to use in my cooking, there's something about turkey broth that I think has an extra oompf of flavor.  The broth, plus leftover and now frozen turkey, will provide us many, many good meals.  I've never understood folks who get tired of turkey meat and don't know what to do with the leftovers.  (Send them to me, I'll pay the postage!)

Anyone else getting really irritated with all the Black Friday hype on the Internet and in local papers?  It bugs me that it all exemplifies and amplifies the materialistic spend! spend! spend! society we live in.  I remember the times years ago when there were no sales on anything (!) until AFTER the first of the year and stores returned to calmness after the holidays.  Money to purchase Christmas gifts was saved all year long and the only reason you had extra cash to use for the sales in January was because you were perhaps fortunate enough to have gotten some money from your grandparents or favorite aunt as a Christmas gift.

I feel we're the wealthiest of people to have such bounty in our pantry and root cellar.  This red cabbage straight from the cellar is a thing of beauty to my eyes.  To think it came from one tiny seed, not even an eighth of an inch round . . . now there's a miracle for you.

Swing over a couple of feet from the cabbage on the counter and you'll see on my refrigerator door in the upper left hand corner a colorful heart outlined in sparkly glitter that I received in the mail from a 5-year old sweetie who lives in the Ozarks.  The picture along with a note from her mom came via snail mail this past week.  Kudos to all of you who take the time to sit down and pen a handwritten letter.  (Especially when the cost of one itty-bitty first class stamp is starting to feel astronomical!)

Time to give some assistance to Papa Pea who is bringing wood up to the wood box on the porch.  Then to fill the two wood holding racks next to the two stoves in the house.  Then to sweep up all the debris from said wood.  Whoever said heating with wood warms you twice was way off base.  By my count, it's more like 10-12 times!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Day To Be Thankful

I'm giving thanks on this holiday for all the blessings in my life.  There are many, and I count all of you among them.

Best wishes for a holiday spent doing exactly as you wish.  And may that include just the right amount (no foolish over-indulging bringing on tummy aches!) of delicious food!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aimless Thoughts

It's 12:30 right now, just past noon o'clock.  I'm snacking on a dish of applesauce trying to satisfy my growling tummy while waiting for Papa Pea to come home for our lunch of Black Bean Chili.

He and our good neighbor and friend have kinda sorta been deer hunting together this year either over on D's property where he has two comfortable, enclosed deer stands or on our property where we've got several well established deer trails.  This morning D was staked out in one of his stands while Papa Pea kept watch on the edge of our small field where we've seen a lot of deer action lately.  They had an agreement that if either heard a shot from the other, they'd converge to do the gutting, hanging, skinning, etc.

About an hour ago D showed up on our back porch saying, "Where's my hunting partner when I need him?"  He had shot a young buck (it's a buck only season here this year) with a single shot through the heart . . . and we hadn't even hear the shot.  Anyway, that's where my husband is now until the preliminary work on the carcass is done.

What a cold day we have for hunting or doing anything else outside!  A forecasted high of 8° today, but we do have bright sunshine and no wind which helps a lot.  This weekend it's supposed to get above freezing (wa-hoo!) so we're going to try to get outside window washing done.  (I'm thinking it would be nice to actually be able to see out of them this winter.)  Window washing.  Ugh.  There's a task neither one of us is particularly fond of and one that always gets put off . . . well, until it's darn near too cold to do it.

Today granddog Tucker is staying pretty close to the wood stove.  He has a comfy, soft bed other side of the stove but he frequently seems to prefer wrapping some part of his anatomy around this leg of the stove.  He asked to go outside once this morning, but it was a very quick trip.

Kristina over at Pioneer Woman at Heart blogged today about scaling back her holiday baking this year.  That's something I've been giving a lot of thought to, too.  Hubby says I shouldn't do any baking (none of us needs the extra sugar), but the holidays just wouldn't seem right without two or three (or six or seven) of the favorites.  What to do, what to do.

We are definitely scaling back on presents this year.  Fortunately, we're a family who likes to get "necessities" . . . practical items perhaps others might not find too exciting.  I always ask for Post It notes, candles and emery boards.  Papa Pea likes pipe cleaners (for all his craft projects -- hahahaha!).  Warm socks will be on Chicken Mama's list as usual.

This is the time of year when my head is overflowing with ideas of gifts I'd like to make for Christmas.  No shortage of ideas, just shortage of time.  Each year I promise myself I'll start on the handmade gifts in mid-summer.  Ha!  Problem is not only do I not have the inspiration to do it then, but there's a definite lack of inside time to do so that time of year.


Realize that if you have time to 
whine and complain about something,
then you have the time to do
something about it.

(Quote by Anthony J. D'Angelo)




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Need Your Help

Do any of you have experience with a mechanical apple peeler that you would recommend?

Although I'm fond of saying that I have the kind of brain that thrives on monotonous tasks, there is only so much peeling and paring of apples I can do with my trusty little hand peeler before starting to think, "Enough is enough, there's got to be a faster and more efficient way." 

Therefore, I sure would appreciate knowing if there is some kind of a reliable gadget out there (hand-cranked?) that I could purchase for with which (which with?) to peel the tens of thousands (maybe millions) of apples being turned into sauce (and pies, and crisps and crunches and cobblers and other tasty dishes) in my kitchen each year.

Thank you from the bottom of my little apple-peelin' heart for any help or suggestions or recommendations you can provide.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'm Supposed to be Making Applesauce But . . .

I seem to be finding any excuse I can for not diving into the box of apples waiting for me in the kitchen.  If I diddle around an hour or so more this morning, it will be time to start making lunch.

And I haven't put up a new post in ever so long, right?

It is winter here.  Bam, smash, crash, we hit November 1st and Old Man Winter moved in.  Very cold weather (down around 18°-ish at night) and not climbing out of the 20s during the day.  Top that with very little sunshine, and it feels more like December or January than the first part of November.

We even have a bit over an inch of snow on the ground.  Our pond looks to be frozen solid, but I didn't take my dear husband up on his suggestion yesterday that I go test it out.

This all wouldn't be bad if we had our "Must Do Before Winter" list completed.  But, sigh, we don't.  Yesterday Papa Pea had some digging to do and had to use a pickaxe.  At least I think he did.  That was what I suggested to make his life easier.

Yes, I am (or am supposed to be) elbow-deep into applesauce making.  I use my super-sized stock pot (it's so big I can't lift it when it's full of meat, bones and stock) which I fill to within a couple of inches of the top with pared and cut up apples.  I can't wash the pot in my kitchen sink, but rather have to take it out to the utility sink in the garage.  So when I've finished with my batch of sauce for each day, I've been covering the pot and putting it out on our unheated back porch for the night.  I bring it in next morning, and I'm ready to go.  (Please don't alert the Kitchen Police of this semi-unsanitary practice.)

* * * * * * * * * *

I'm back.  Did you even miss me?  Another great diversion from making applesauce came into my life.

My daughter, with the sleeping babes she nannies in the back of the van, called saying she was going past our place on the way to the farm to pick up milk for the kiddies' family and did I want to go along.  I had just noticed this morning that I needed to restock our supply of cow juice so gladly donned my duds and said I'd love to go along.

As we were coming out of the milk house after doing our business at the farm, a beautiful black pony came trotting up to us.  Turns out he was an escapee from a horse trailer that had just pulled on to the property.  But before we could figure out what was happening, he dashed off around a barn and across a field.  Had we not had the cargo we did, we would have offered to stay and try to corral the wayward equine.

Back here at home, almost as soon as I got the milk put away, a truck arrived with an order of a gazillion bags of chicken feed.  No, I didn't have to unload them myself; that's what I have a husband for.  (Haha!)  I did, however, make him (my husband, not the truck driver) a good lunch of scrambled eggs, ham, Brussels sprouts . . . and, of course, applesauce left over from yesterday's batch.

It's only 2:30 p.m. now so I could get my day's quota of apples processed yet, but I have a mountain of dishes to tackle and a couple of other tasks that truly do rank higher than the applesauce.  So I think I'll take the big, ol' pot out to the garage and give it a good cleaning in the utility sink.  Couldn't hurt.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Tiskit, A Tasket . . .

Somebody's gonna be making baskets!

Busy day today.  I'll be away from home for the better part of the day so instead of taking the time to search out an appropriate basket in which to put the names of you gals who said you'd be interested in the three basket making books I offered as a giveaway . . . 

. . . I put the four names in a little bowl, had Papa Pea squeeze his eyes shut and draw one out.

Yepper, the books will be going to:


I'll get them in the mail to you as soon as I can this week, Kristina.  I know your crafty fingers will be producing some lovely baskets this winter.  Be sure to show them to us on your blog.  (No pressure . . . but we'll all be checking up on you.  ;o}  Hee-hee.)

Have a wonderful day, dear readers.  We're on the watch for snow today and tomorrow, but only a 50% chance of the white stuff as it stands now.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Once A Long Time Ago . . .

Once a long time ago, I was going to learn how to make baskets.

Never happened.

I recently found three basket making books I purchased way back in the 1980s.  I never got around to using them, and now that I'm in my use-it-or-lose-it phase, I'd like to pass them along to someone who might enjoy looking through them . . . and perhaps even making a basket or two.

They're just thin paperback books so I'll put them all in a big envelope and mail them off to the winner.

Anybody interested?  If so, just state it in the comment section and I'll put your name in the hat.  (Hey, I should find a pretty little basket to put the entries in!)

This is Friday, the 7th, so I'll close entries on Sunday, the 9th, when I shut down my computer for the night.

Come on, now, you really must enter this giveaway.  You know you need another hobby to occupy your time!  (Snicker, snicker!) 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts and Tasks

I'm slowly, but surely, getting some bigger inside projects done.

Yesterday I cleaned my refrigerator in the kitchen.  (Yes, I do classify that as a Big Project!)  A dirty refrigerator drives me batty so when I clean it, it gets pretty much pulled apart and put back together after being scrubbed to within an inch of its white enameled life.  (Sad to say, it's more correct to say, ". . . its white plastic-coated life.")  If it would only stay that way now, for, oh say, the next six months.  Neither hubby nor I are terribly messy so there must be someone who comes into our kitchen during the night and drips and dribbles while stealing a midnight snack.

The pantry is also getting my attention with the hope of taming the contents so I (somehow) have more room in there.  I don't know.  Sigh.  I have a good-sized kitchen with plenty of cabinets along with the separate pantry that measure 15' x 7' and has built-in cabinets and shelves galore (but also two freezers in there, one of which is 6' long in length), and yet I don't seem to have enough space in which to store all I want.  Do I have too much stuff?  Rather, I think the question is do I spend too much time cooking and preserving food and making everything from scratch!

We've completed our cleaning and sorting of our main storage shed, and I'm getting rid of items destined to go either to recycling or the donation center in town.  Our daughter has been going through all of our discards first, though, because she's sure we're going to throw away something that is part of her heritage!  I give her a hard time about being a bit of a pack rat, but must admit she's the one in the family who truly does care about and want to preserve the "important" family treasures.  I know I'm too much the other way in that I don't see any sense in keeping much of anything I'm not actively using.

My horrendously messy quilt room is still waiting for my attention, and I'm actually looking forward to barricading myself in there for a few days while getting it right and ready for lots of enjoyable time quilting this upcoming winter.

Don't know when I last gave our bedroom a good, thorough cleaning.  With luck, that will happen today.  How does it get dirty in the first place?  We sure don't seem to spend a lot of time in there . . . she says while nodding off because of an early alarm this morning.

Oh, yes, another task I must do today . . . cut my fingernails.  Such a BIG job (not), but one I have to do more frequently than seems "normal."  My fingernails have always grown like weeds in the summertime so get out of control (too long and tend to get bent back -- ooo-ooh, owie, shudder-shudder) if I don't keep them of a sensible length.  (Maybe I should start biting my nails . . . nah, bad idea.)

Okay, I'm off (but no more than usual) to attack the day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Today I'm . . .

. . . putting Halloween decorations away, putting Thanksgiving ones out.  (Am I on top of it or what?!)

. . . making cookies for the Cookie Monster I live with who hasn't had any good cookies in forever.  (According to him anyway.)

. . . making green split pea soup with veggies and sweet Italian sausage.  (My back-up stock of soup in the freezer has been close to non-existent.)

. . . taking stuff from our big storage shed clean-out/clean-up to the donation center in town.  (It feels so good to have a big load gone, gone, gone.)

. . . making fish cakes for dinner with batter I bought from a local fisherman's wife for my hard-working husband who loves them.  (No bones to worry about, you see.)

. . . smiling over another hand-written letter I received via snail mail today (I got one yesterday, too) from a blogging buddy.  (These gals chirk me up, and put me to shame at the same time.)

. . . finished reconciling last month's bank statement.  (And it's only the first of this month!)

. . . feeling tired and logy.  (Wishing I was ensconced on the couch knitting.  Or maybe snoozing.)

. . . wondering if I'll be able to finish this month the new Christmas wall hanging I started before the holidays last year.  (It's been hanging on my design wall for a full twelve months, which maybe isn't a bad thing because in looking at it I've changed my mind on how I want to quilt it a couple of times now.)

. . . enjoying some new sassafras.  (Very good.)  (Geesh, just now noticed I forgot to say sassafras tea.  I need to learn how to proof-read!)

. . . thinking that although all time seems to go by too fast anymore, the two months before the first of the new year come and go with lightning speed.  (I yearn for lots of leisure time during November and December, the first half of winter, but having two major holidays so close together seems to make it impossible.   Anybody else feel this way?)