Sunday, December 30

Easy To Make Doughnuts

Homemade Doughnuts
Cutting out doughnuts with my old cutter
I have been researching flour and trying to find a better quality and healthier brand to use.
I came across an article in the Mother Earth News magazine my husband recently picked up for me. It’s about bread making and using a more natural flour.  One of the flour brands recommended was King Authur.

There is nothing better than homemade-fresh-from-the-oven bread topped with real butter.  When growing up my mother made us loaves of bread, and I have yet to taste better.

Thursday, December 20

Home Grown and Buying Local

What's in our food?

There are so many reports out now about the dangers of GMO's,  High Fructose Corn Syrup,  Preservatives,  Chemicals and many other things in our food. 
Evidence is growing that many foods with additives are addictive like cocaine according to a growing body of Scientific Research.

I think it is a good idea for everyone to make their own choice about what they are consuming, but the choice should at least be an informed decision. 

After a lot of reading and research, my husband and I have been slowly changing our eating habits over the last few years.  We grow more of our own food in our vegetable and herb gardens and hope to continue to expand.

Saturday, December 8

Cranberry Nut Granola

Homemade Granola

Last year at Christmas I received a jar of homemade granola. It was a basic granola, great for putting on cereal and yogurt and eating right out of the jar as a snack. It didn’t last long!

That gift got me thinking all year about making my own granola, and now that Christmas is right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to try it.

What is granola?  Granola is a breakfast or snack food consisting of oats, nuts and honey. Raisins, dried fruits and dates are sometimes added. Some even have puffed rice. The granola is baked until crisp.

Besides serving as a breakfast and snack food, granola is often eaten while hiking, camping or backpacking because it is lightweight, high in calories and easy to store.

Tuesday, November 27

Keeping Goats

Little Miss Claudia Milkmouth

It’s a long story as to how I received goats as a gift for Thanksgiving, but I’ll try to condense the story.

Long, long ago in a land far away (Wisconsin) my husband, fresh out of college, started selling insurance. His territory was northern Wisconsin. He went door to door to farmers, and one farm he called on was the Burish Dairy Farm. As time passed, my husband quit selling insurance, but he remained close friends with the dairy farmers. More time passed, he took a job offer and moved to Ohio and him and I met.

We decided to get married in Wisconsin on a Christmas trip to see the Burish’s, even getting married in a beautiful little picturesque snow covered church in Cadott, down the road from the Burish dairy farm.

Tuesday, August 21

Chicken or the Egg

Eggs, Eggs and More Eggs:
As some of you know one of my dreams was raising chickens. That dream I have fulfilled with beautiful fat happy chickens I raised from babies.

The excitement to find the first egg, well unless you have raised chickens you have no idea the anticipation that goes into each visit to the coop, wondering if today is the day I will find our first egg. Being the goof that I am, I cried over that first egg.

There is a kinship formed with the chickens when you raise them, and all of a sudden I was sadden by the thought of eating those perfect eggs my chickens had created. So I decided I would be the one to eat those first few eggs myself. It was something I felt I needed to do since I was the one to nurture the chicks into adulthood. Doing so completed a very beautiful cycle, as I see it.

Monday, August 13

Dachshunds & Kitty Catch A Hawk

This is a story about my mean Dachshunds and their sidekick Kitty tricking a hawk.

A Red Tailed Hawk has been circling our farm all summer.
I suppose the delicious looking chickens are on his want list for dinner. 
And we are missing one of two young barn cats.
Well this morning, the hawk swooped down and tried to pick up one of my mini Dachshunds! But Lucas and Josie (2 of our dachshunds) turned the tables on that hawk and brought him down.
I ran out to save the doggies, only to end up saving the hawk from the killer Wiener dogs.
In case you didn’t know, Wiener dogs are not fluffy sissy lap dogs, although they love to snuggle. They are classified in the Hound Group by American Kennel Club (AKC).

So no matter how much I spoil and pamper these Dachshunds, dress them up in silly clothes, bath them, take them to the groomer, it does not change their nature.
All they want to do is track something down with those powerful sniffers of theirs and kill it.
If only the hawk had known that!

Sunday, August 12

Good Old Fashion Dinner Party

A Women's Only Formal Dinner Party
Women are unique, special, intelligent and gifted.
But a lot of the time, all our time is taken up with work, kids, husbands, partners, housework and lots of stress, leaving very little time to ourselves.

My daughter Alexis, my son’s girlfriend Jennica and I decided to host a girls only night.
Another friend we consulted, Heidi, suggested we make it a formal dinner party and all of us dress up.
What a great idea that turned out to be! We had such a fun time admiring each other’s outfits and the SHOES! Each lady had on just a fantastic pair of heels, all to die for!
Jennica put together a playlist for background music which included lots of love and romance songs (of course) and also songs about woman empowerment.

Jennica, Alexis and I spent an evening shopping for a new tablecloth, something feminine and with a summer feel, and kicked around ideas for the menu.

Tuesday, August 7

Watermelon Margaritas

Planning a Girls Only Dinner Party

I'm planning a girls only Dinner Party and I need to come up with a couple cocktails that women might love.
Today, while searching websites, I came across a Watermelon Margarita recipe!
Sounds so "summer" and delicious, (That blog that has since gone to blog heaven).

I changed the recipe a bit and came up with my own version:

Wednesday, August 1

Woman Sisterhood

Wow, it's been a busy summer!  I have been so busy with the yard, garden, chickens, and family that haven't had much time to be online.

I'm in the middle of planning a girls only dinner party and came across this quote I really like:

"What liberation of women has given us all, is not forcing us down a particular road.
Instead, it has given us a choice. We have a choice to have our families and run them as we want.
We may marry, we may not. We may have children, we may not. 
We may work, we may not.
But never, ever should what each of us do be devalued and denigrated in the eyes of others – especially by us women.
We are a powerful, purposeful sisterhood, and – differences or not – long may we all remember it."

~ Marilyn Stowe Blog

Tuesday, June 19

South Dakota Vacation Ideas

Camping and Sight Seeing

We have been to the Black Hills twice and Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons once.

This summer trip was originally planned as a tent camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, but because our son needed to take a summer course for college, our trip was revised to only go as far as the Black Hills.

Both previous trips west, we rented cabins or stayed in a hotel or lodge. This trip we wanted to tent camp to experience all the beautiful wilderness South Dakota has to offer.

Monday, June 4

Italian Dinner Party

My son and his girlfriend Jennica
Italian (Birthday) Dinner Party In Our Barn
My son’s girlfriend Jennica’s birthday was coming up in June, so she asked me if we could have a party in our barn. We hashed over a few ideas, and came up with an Italian Dinner Party theme.

We searched the web for ideas, decorations and food because although I have had people over for dinner, and hosted larger Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, I have not had a semi-formal dinner party in a barn!
Jennica and I decided to keep it simple: Appetizers, wine, salad, garlic bread, the main dish and desserts.

Please keep in mind this party can also be in your backyard under a shade tree, on the patio or even indoors!
Jennica started out with an invitation list of 16, enlarged it to 20 and ended up with 18 guests for dinner.

Wednesday, May 23

Marietta, Ohio Scenic Drive

Marietta, Ohio:  Scenic Drive Road Trip
(Great for Sports Cars or Motorcycles)

I had a few people keep telling me to write about my husband Bill and I's little road trips we take, so here goes.

We have a beautiful little 1990 Mazda Miata that I purchased from a friend of ours.  “Golf Club” Bill passed away from cancer a few years back, and his wife Becky sold me the car.

We usually drive about 1000 to 1500 miles a year on one to two day road trips around Ohio and surrounding states.

Friday, May 4

Building a Chicken Coop

Shed turned into coop & scratch yard built (near my garden)
We decided when we purchased our small farm last August that we were going to raise chickens and have our own fresh eggs. We purchased 2 day old baby chicks in February from a local Amish farmer.

I had planned to use an old shed we call the “mail pouch” barn for the chicken coop, but after further inspection I realized it just needed too much work to keep the hens safe from predators.

Restoring this barn will have to wait.  Maybe I'll turn it into a camping cabin, smoke house or use it as a sugaring shack for making maple syrup.
Instead, I decided to divide my gardening shed in half by building an interior wall. One side would be for my gardening supplies, and the other a chicken coop.
We had electric installed (thanks to my nephew Sammie) then started construction.

Thursday, April 5

Tent Camping List

Making Preparations For Tent Camping

My husband Bill and I are in the middle of digging out all our camping gear and sorting through it.  We are trying to decide what we actually need and trying to downsize.
Both of us have been camping as adults for well over, I hate to even say how long,  yea, over 30 years! 

A few years back, we decided to purchase a small cabin in the woods and have been spending wonderful peaceful weekends there...... sleeping on an actual bed.

We still tent camped with our son, who was in the Boy Scouts. But Daniel has been out of Boy Scouts for about two years now, since turning 18.

Monday, March 26

Salvaging Barn Wood

Our Mud Room Is Born:
We sold our subdivision home in the city in June 2011 and purchased our small farm in August, 2011.
But even before we closed the deal, my husband Bill was on the look out,  collecting things for our little farm.

One day, while driving by our not-yet-house just to look at it again, (we did that often) Bill happened upon a yard sale. 
What's really strange about that is, he usually doesn't stop at yard sales.  Me?  I will wear the brakes out, screeching to a halt for a yard sale!
That day he found and purchased a load of old barn wood.  Enough to fill the bed of our pickup truck.
We didn't know what we would use it for at the new house, but he said he just could not pass up all that weathered wood for only $25.00 .
After purchasing our little farm, Bill decided to use the barn wood on one wall in our lower level family room (The Man Cave).

Tuesday, March 13

Our Ex-Army Ranger Neighbor

Thomas "Thunder" Thornton

Our cabin, Summer 2002
Following the rules of a saying, The 5 Pees, while making maple syrup, got me thinking about that saying and the old Military guy who taught it to us. 

My husband and I have a little cabin in the woods in the Hocking Hills area, outside of Logan, Ohio.
A small primitive cabin when we purchased it, we have since added a well and shower.

Bill and I, (and me way before I even met Bill), have always loved the outdoors, hiking, camping, campfires. You get the idea.

Wednesday, March 7

Saturday Waffle Breakfast

Easy Waffle Recipe with Homemade Maple Syrup 

My homemade syrup
from the maple trees in the back ground
Making all that homemade syrup got me thinking about recipes using fresh maple syrup! Waffles and pancakes are always a hit at our house, but I have never been a big fan of waffles.

And listen, I am guilty. Until recently, if you searched my pantry, you would find a box of Hungry Jack Instant Pancake and Waffle mix. That may be the cause of my attitude towards pancakes and waffles, the coming from a box taste.

I admit, I've never really read the ingredients on instant pancake and waffle mixes except the directions.
I had no idea what the ingredients even were!
We have been trying to eat healthier in the last few years and reading more and more labels of the food we buy. The fewer the ingredients (and ingredients I can actually pronounce) is at the top of the list for me.

Thursday, March 1

Turning Maple Tree Sap Into Syrup

Making Maple Syrup
I have read that many people and cultures believe that drinking maple sap is a way to energize the body after a long winter. I decided to have a little glass to start the morning off. 

Maple sap is regarded as a medicine, a Spring tonic, by most American Indian nations where maple sap is gathered.  In South Korea, the drinking of sap is linked to a wide range of health benefits.

After collecting enough sap from our maple trees I started early this morning getting everything ready for the boiling process.

Monday, February 27

Sugaring or Tapping Maple Trees

Making Syrup From Maple Trees
I am so excited about having the baby chicks, that the other morning I decided to walk across the street and tell our neighbors. Rachel and Tad have 5 beautiful children they are home schooling, so I thought seeing and holding the chicks would be fun and educational for them.

After inviting Rachel and the kids over to see the chicks and then staying to talk for a few minutes, Rachel said” oh, I have something for you, homemade maple syrup.”
Rachel handed me a pint of golden brown syrup and she and the kids took me outside to see the maple tree taps and to watch the sap dripping into buckets.
I got really excited because I realized we have many maple trees in our own yard!

I hurried home and after scouting out which trees I was sure were maple trees, I started doing an internet search.
I goggled how to tap the trees, where to purchase the spiles (tree taps) and the whole process of making maple syrup.  I learned that Ohio is ranked in the top 5 states in maple syrup production.

Tuesday, February 21

Starting a Chicken Flock

Saturday February 18, 2012
The Day I Finally Got Chickens

The big day had arrived. Today was the day to go to a farm in Johnstown, Ohio to pick out chicks to start our flock!

I was up by 6am, but I had barely slept the night before. I woke up thinking I should use the old sink base cabinet left over from our bath remodel to keep the new baby chicks in, instead of the small cage my husband Bill and I worked on all evening, converting it into a brooder.
Brooders are used to confine chicks with their feed and water and keep them warm, until they are 6 - 8 weeks old and ready to go outside

I decided I would use the cabinet because it is larger, and I could use old storm windows to cover the top. The old storm windows would not only help keep heat in and keep the cat out, but would also allow me to have a clear view of my chicks.
Bill helped carry the cabinet into the mudroom where I planned to keep the chicks, then we set the storm windows in place and hung the heat lamp.

Saturday, February 11

Valentine's Day Craft Blocks

Easy Valentine Blocks

While looking around Pinterest (I love that site) I came across this idea for Valentine's Day Blocks.  The one pictured seem to be made from blocks cut from 4 x 4's.  I decided to try to make them myself, but I used scrap pieces of 2 x 4's. Click for more Valentine's Day Ideas

Here are the directions for making Valentine's Day blocks:

Needed Supplies: 
1 piece of  2 x 4 wood, (12 to 14 inches long should do it)
straight edge
measuring tape
Paint colors of pink, red, white, grey  and black

Growing Green Onions In Winter

Green Onions 

One of the things I miss most about my summer garden is picking fresh off the vine tomatoes and pulling a few leaves of lettuce to make a fresh salad for lunch or dinner.

Having a little mini garden in the winter appeals to me.

I read somewhere that if I planted the white bulb end part of a green onion (after chopping and adding the green part to whatever it is I'm cooking, of course) it would grow!

Saturday, February 4

Flaky Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits

My biscuits, fresh out of the oven
I found this recipe in a Fine Cooking magazine in 2007.

These are one of the best biscuits I have tasted and are easy to make. 
I love that the butter doesn't need to be chopped on crumbled into the flour. This is so much easier and creates a stronger butter flavored biscuit!

Tips and Suggestions:
I use a Buttermilk Powder from SACO and follow the directions on the container to make the buttermilk.   SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend can be used in nearly any recipe that calls for liquid buttermilk or soured milk. 

I also use a smaller, round baking dish instead of a sheet, and have the sides of my biscuits touching. 

Cooking the biscuits in a dish lined with parchment paper just makes for a much easier clean-up.

I also use King Arthur Flour and Land of Lakes Butter.  The better the quality of ingredients the better the end product.