Deer in the Orchard


Deer in the Orchard

 

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deer in orchard

deer in orchard

My husband was anxious for me to come to the window last night because  deer had come all the way to the porch steps.  I told him to take a picture, by the time I got to the window and was able to get the picture,  the deer had moved out to the apple tree and had started eating the apples.  They are so pretty the picture doesn’t do them justice.  I think the dogs scared them because as soon as I got my pictures they ran away.  Unfortunately it was getting dark and the pictures don’t show their beauty.

Sweet and russet potato pancakes

Sweet Potato and Russet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato and Russet Potato Pancakes

2 medium russet potatoes   1 medium sweet potato or yam  2 eggs

1/3c olive oil  1c flour  1/2t salt  1/2t baking soda

Cut potatoes in 1 inch cubes and put in blender.  Add eggs and olive oil, blend until texture of smoothie.  Put mixture in a bowl and add flour salt and baking soda.

Heat pan till hot then add about a table spoon of oil.  Fry potato cakes as you would a regular pancake, turning when cake has bubbled up or you can see it has cooked half through.

These can be served with syrup if you like them sweet or as my family prefers with mango salsa.

These are made using a sweet potato, but a cup and a half of cubed pumpkin would easily substitute for the sweet potato.  The recipe made around 20 cakes using a large table spoon of batter. You could make about 10 regular 5 inch pancakes.

Having deer in the orchard is not a new thing, but having them walk up to the porch is pretty rare here with the dogs barking all the time.  I love seeing all the wild life around, but really partial to deer.  I hope you do try the potato pancakes, they are very easy to make and a good alternative to regular pancakes.  Enjoy your day and always be kind to yourself and others.

Halloween is Pumpkin Time


This is my favorite time of year, not just because of the beautiful colors outside, and the anticipation of coming holidays, there is a change in the air. The spirit of giving always seems to be greater around the holidays. People love to give and this time of year there are so many loved ones in need of just a little extra love and care. If you know someone you can help in a kind way or with a kind thought they will be so grateful and the feeling you get from giving is so gratifying to be truly happy you make those around you happy.
At Halloween time you bring out all you pumpkin recipes so you can take advantage of the big and beautiful pumpkins that are so inexpensive at this time of year. I love to make pies, cookies and even freeze some for smoothies. A favorite around this country home is chili. Here is my recipe for pumpkin chili. You can add ground beef or turkey if you like.
Pumpkin Chili
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Large onion, diced
Green bell pepper, chopped
Red bell pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
26oz pureed tomatoes
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
4 or 5 cups of diced pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Two or three splashes of your favorite hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt,
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook the pumpkin and vegetables in the skillet, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, garlic; continue cooking until the onion has softened and turned translucent.
Combine the kidney beans, black beans, Great Northern beans, tomato puree, and diced tomatoes. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Heat to boil, stir in the vegetables.
Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, chili is spicy.

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Scary Pumpkin

laughing pumpkins

laughing pumpkins

Most everyone likes to carve a cool pumpkin or see someone else’s handy work..  I think these are pretty cool they were carved by a chef on a cruise we took last year watching him carve them so fast and with such ease made me think I could do it at home. His are beautiful, mine, Not so much.

Puking pumpkin

Puking pumpkin

Enjoy Halloween and make lots of fun recipes out of the pumpkins that are in abundance right now Chili is a favorite right now with the weather cooling down.  Do fun things and enjoy life in the country.

Cancer Awarness Month


I know my blog is about country living but this one time I want to get real serious about a topic no one wants to think will ever happen to them.
Because October is cancer awareness month I thought it would be a good time to write a short story about my experience with the dreaded disease.

Cancer survivor

Cancer survivor


It has been a little over a year ago now when I first got the diagnosis of breast cancer. I went in for a routine yearly checkup which included a mammogram. The doctor called and told me there was something found and sent me for an ultra-sound. The following week I went in for a biopsy. Two days later I get a call from a surgeon and oncologist. That was around 10:00 am, around 5:00 pm I get a call from my doctor, she says she has some bad news for me and would like me to come in to her office. I said “the biopsy came back and it was malignant right”? She said I was right but didn’t like to talk about it over the phone. I told her I had received phone calls earlier that morning from a surgeon’s office and oncologist wanting to set appointments so I figured it was malignant. She so was very apologetic and said she had only called them earlier that morning and didn’t expect them to get to me so fast. I was in a little shock, but told her I would make appointments soon.
That was late August last year, when I found out about the cancer. I had a lobectomy in September. I was one of the lucky ones they got all the cancer. I didn’t have to go through chemo, but I did have 29 days of Radiation that left me quite burnt and more than a little protective of my breast. After completion of Radiation it took around three or four weeks for the burns to go away.
It has been about a year now and looking back on it everything went so fast that I really had no time to dwell on the what ifs. I know it was very hard on my family and friends, harder than it was for me. I decided to take everything one day at a time and followed all the doctors instructions. You hear so much about cancer but you never think it could happen to you. It never even occurred to me that I was in the middle of one of life’s biggest battles. While no one is ever totally free of cancer, I am hoping to keep it at a very far distance.
I am so very thankful my cancer got detected early and for all the people who had a hand in my journey from doctors to family and friends.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have to go through this not just to the person with cancer, but to all who love them. As in every journey in life we are not an island and what we go through affects all who love us.

Country roads


Halloween is fast approaching and it has been fun seeing all the new costumes this year.  I was telling my husband I remember drawing a face on a brown paper sack when I was a kid and that was my costume. I had three siblings so we were a family of bag heads.  My husband said he would take a white sheet and cut two holes for eyes and make a ghost costume, he was a ghost  every year, it was sure cheap and we always seemed to have lots of fun and our pillow cases got filled with more candy than we needed.  We used our imaginations for our costumes and our parents made popcorn balls and Carmel apples to give out as treats.  Can you imagine if someone’s child  was to come home with a homemade treat nowadays?  Strait to the garbage can.  My grandkids all live in communities’ where there are lots of houses to trick or treat at so they will get tons of candy, and all will be gone through by their parents to make sure it is safe before the get to eat it.   We live so far out in the country we don’t even get one trick or treator.

It is getting a little cold here with fall definitely in the air, summer left so fast I find myself wanting to turn the  electric heater on but still wanting to put off that bill for as long as possible.  I love wood heat and almost tempted to build a fire in the stove.

Cold weather always makes me want some hot soup and I just happen to have a butternut squash, so I  made some Butternut soup for dinner.  It turned out so good, I put onion,yellow pepper,red pepper, zucchini, and of course butternut squash in a sauté pan and let simmer until everything was soft then added salt and pepper with some seasoned black bean paste.

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If you have little ones looking forward to Halloween keep them close and safe and remember to check their goodies. Keep warm and hopefully cook some hearty soup.

Water Pipe break


As in everyone’s lives, there are times when you just have to stop and take care of business. Or in this case watch someone else take care of it. We had a leaky water pipe so as Steve worked to replace the pipe; Pepper stood by and was very helpful digging holes around the hole Steve was digging. We ended up going without water for a couple of days while Steve found the leak and replaced the old pipes with new. Thankfully it was a small leak and easy to do. At least he said it was easy. 2014-09-22 17.41.44 I found an old door lying in the barn and it made a perfect sign for a customer. It will be perfect to hang on a post outside their property. This sign took a little time to make but everyone seems to think it is the best looking wood so far. There are a lot of holes and ridges in the wood and it really looks rustic. It is fun to see the difference in the wood from start to finish. The boards start out so grey and dull looking then after sanding all the beautiful colors and designs of the boards come to life.

Old window door from the barn

Old window door from the barn

Baking has always been something I love to do. Baking bread is always a challenge, trying to balance nutrition with flavor. This bread was made with homemade kefir, chia seeds, mixed nuts and black pepper. It tastes like sourdough bread. The pepper gives it a nice flavor.

Bread made with kefir and chia seeds

Bread made with kefir and chia seeds

Toasted sliced bread with cashew butter

Toasted sliced bread with cashew butter

With Peppers help the pipes got fixed, I got some work in on making the barn board signs, and made bread. All in all a pretty good day in the country.

Country time with Apple Juice


If you’ve ever had fresh pressed apple cider you know what a delight it is. We have about ten apple trees here and although we share quite a bit with the deer the bear and the birds, I decided to make some apple juice this year. It was easy to go online and find directions to make the apple juice. It took about three hours from start to finish. Which was perfect because by the time I finished with the apple juice it was time to start dinner.

Five gallon bucket of apples

Five gallon bucket of apples


Apples in sink ready for wash

Apples in sink ready for wash


washed apples

washed apples


cut apples

cut apples


Juicer

Juicer


Extracted apple pulp

Extracted apple pulp


Heating up the apple juice

Heating up the apple juice


Five gallons of apples turn into twelve 20 ounce bottles of juice

Five gallons of apples turn into twelve 20 ounce bottles of juice


After I washed the apples very well, I cut them into quarters or smaller to fit the juicer tube. I then continued all the apples till the entire five gallon bucket was cut and juiced. I then brought the juice up to a boil and reduced the heat and let the juice simmer for around 5 minutes. I then put the juice through a cotton cloth and sieve. Then used a funnel to put the juice into 20 ounce bottles where it will set to get cooled of then I will store it in the freezer.
I really enjoyed making the apple juice it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. The hardest part was the clean up. I am looking forward to exploring more country life in the future. Life has been so busy for so many years that I just haven’t taken time to enjoy the wonderful life I have here in this country home.
Living the simple life here in the country.

Slow day in the Country


Today the rain is coming down in buckets. Looks like a day to make bread.  I use a home made kefir  to make  sour dough starter, I then put in some chia seeds and cashew butter. I have tried to make recipes with great fiber and grains, because bread has a lot of carbs,  I put in nutritious ingredients so It looses some of guilty feeling of eating bread.

I saw a recipe online where you take small chunks of a store bought uncooked bread and put them in the bottom of a pan, then you add chicken , vegetables, and a white sauce, on top.   I thought I would make the same thing with some of the dough I make today, I have some chicken, celery, onion, which I will sauté, then add it to the dough in the pan with some frozen peas and corn, I will pour a white sauce ( I make mine from a rue, with mushroom soup and milk) over the top and bake for 30 min at 350*.  We will have enough for dinner tonight and leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
It is so peaceful here in the country time seems to not have the value it does in the city. I heed to be out working on my barn board signs, but I will wait for a break in the rain. I enjoy making the signs and the barn that the boards come from is over 100 years old and I am preserving a part of history while making something beautiful in the process.

Derek and Agnes

Derek and Agnes

Thunder through the night made it hard to sleep.  The dogs were constantly barking wanting to go out and find what was making all the noise.  At least today it is just raining. The dogs need to get out and play even if the rain is just on a break.

Zepher and Pepper

Zepher and Pepper

Autumn in the Country


I love the new colors I see out the back door. Autumn in the country is a beautiful time of year. There is a lot of falling leaves to take care of I don’t mind burning the leaves, but as for raking, that is always a challenge. We have twenty three acres, but we only rake around the house, I can’t imagine raking more. But I chose country living so I will put up with the leaves. 2014-10-19 15.40.06 HDR
There is never a time here in the country when you can’t find something to do. I enjoy baking and cooking I have never been one to follow recipes but I do enjoy watching cooking shows then I take what they do and remake with my own spin on it.
I have been putting off going out to work on my signs; it has been so rainy today. I make rustic signs from old barn boards. I really enjoy working with wood I get so involved with a project I forget the time. Usually my husband has to come get me when he is hungry so I can go fix dinner. When I get an order for a sign I get engrossed and just can’t wait for the customers’ reaction. The old barn boards change so much when the top gets sanded; they go from old and grey to a beautiful finish. It is a pleasure to give the boards to customers. 2014-09-13 12.50.41
I love playing with our two dogs Zephyr and Pepper. They are so comical they love chasing each other and chasing anything you can find to throw their way. The rain never stops them from wanting to go outside and having fun. Pepper was digging a hole in the yard; I think he was trying to find a mole. He decided to come in and now my house is like a race track on race day. Muddy foot prints everywhere.

Zepher and Pepper coming in from the rain

Zepher and Pepper coming in from the rain


Well between raking the leaves, chasing the dogs and working on my barn board signs I think this country girl has here day fully planned. Did I mention cooking dinner?

It’s October and time for a fest.


As everyone knows October always brings out the spooks, but it also brings out a lot of German dishes and beers.

I recall eating these great biscuits filled with meats and vegetables at my mother-in-laws house. She called them Beef Rocks.  They are a favorite of my husband. They were light and fluffy on the outside with great meat and vegies inside.  I decided to replicate them to the best of my memory.  I will let you know how it goes.

I know I at least will get the beer right.