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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Roasted Hotdogs and Snow Cream

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know. I won't give you the typical excuses of how busy we've been (I spent the first six hours of Christmas in the emergency room! Fun times...) or the craziness of daily life as we've all been there. So let's start here.

81 mile an hour winds. Yep, you heard right. Sitting at work last week when all the power went out. The weird thing was that it was a beautiful day outside. Warm, 50+ degrees and blue skies. My son called and said that the power went out at our house. They sent us home early when the emergency generators died at work and when I went out to get in my car, the car rocked. 
Shingles from my roof everywhere.


2 1/2 hours to get home! I attempted to go home the back way and all but two lights were out. Four roads intersecting with one turn lane each and as I got half way home, I had to turn around an go back as they closed the road. Lots of devastation from wind. We lost power at our home for 3 1/2 days. We are on a well so no power means no water. Things get really earthy, really quick. They finally returned our power Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness!



Then the snow came. After a season of virtually no snow, we got hit a week before spring. We got well over 2 feet of snow. With the drifting, it was actually thigh high yesterday and we could not open our front, side or back doors until we shovel out way out.  







 
But when life gives you lemons...


 

During the outage, we got so sick of eating out but how do you make a home cooked meal without electricity?
Well, the way they would have done it 100 years ago, you go to your woodstove. I grabbed
the longest meat fork I could and threaded some hotdogs on them. Holding them over the wood, they roasted to hotdog perfection. This was a fun little experiment that worked.






Snow is really pretty but pretty ugly when it causes everything to be ten times harder than it needs to be. I decided it was time to make something good out of all that white stuff. Remembering reading the Little House books when I was a girl, I always remember Ma making something called "Snow Cream". So I looked it up on the internet (I so love the internet) and sure enough there was a receipe. I made it. God it was good but you have to eat it fast. Here is the receipe.

SNOW CREAM
1 cup milk
1/2 sugar
1 tsp flavoring of your choice.

Mix together until sugar is dissolved and then add as much fresh snow as needed to make a fluffy ice cream like consistence. Eat immediately. Yum!

So I hope things are going great for all of you in blogland! Missed you much!
 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Getting Cozy...



The red maple beside our house turned a magnificent orange this year and the aspen in the front of drive a sunshine yellow. I love the fall season!
 


Far from being complacent however, the fall is probably one of the busiest months because the winter follows not far behind. I'm sad to say that with the water situation this last year, there is not much that I got canned as the garden did nothing and I was too afraid to use too much water as we were constantly running out of it. (Actually turned out to be a bad gauge but after three months without water, I wasn't taking any chances!)









It's also time to start thinking about how we are going to heat our house this winter. Last year we didn't get in any wood due to finances and let me tell you it was cold! There is nothing like a warm woodstove heat! It's a consistent heat instead of  oil heat which relies on the room getting cooler before the furnace kicks on.  

So this weekend we stacked four facecord of firewood. Economically, with what we pay for a whole season of firewood, would only pay maybe one month of oil heat. 



Also, there is no better exercise that getting out in the fresh air and stacking the wood. My son and I stacked most of it and we have such great conversations as we work. When we re done, we can stand back and feel a sense of satisfaction... and sore muscles for days to come.   


I also turtlenecked the chickens with the cutoff tops of socks. I have one of my girls who has developed a bad habit of snatching the feathers of her fellow coopmates and eatting them.

The instigator...looking at the sock and contemplating.



 I'm not sure what the deal is with that but needless to say I have a bunch of naked necked chickens! The thought came to me to put socks over their necks to allow for the feathers to grow back before it starts getting cold. Needless to say, the girls are not happy with the situation.

We still have more chores to do before the first heavy snowfall but winter prep has begun!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ghost Walk 2016

Have you ever been on a ghost walk?

If not, why?

Far from being morbid, ghost walks or cemetery walks are a wonderful way to get to know the history of the area in which you live. When I lived in Flint, MI, one of my girlfriends and I did one and I do believe there is probably one in Rochester. Most cities or towns may have them and I was finally able to do my local village's ghost walk this weekend.




The Ghost Walk is in it's eighth year and it is performed by students at the local Albion High School. They did a phenomenal job! Each year they select about 15 individuals from the community and with the help of some local historians, research their personal history. Apparently, it various every year who they present and they give you a overall insight into the history of Albion, NY.


In 2000, the students at Albion High School collected monies to construct a monument
to celebrate the black pioneers of Orleans County.



No actual animal is buried under this monument.
It was constructed to remember the love and dedication
the dog had to his departed owner.



The students dress up and present the individual's history right at the gravesite. This year we learned about the first millionaire in Albion, the only person to be executed in the county itself and the man who started Citizen's Bank.. all of them buried with the remaining 18,000 individuals in our little local village.














The cemetery itself is on the historic register and dates back to 1843. A building on site was constructed with local Medina sandstone and we learned that this was shipped all over the world and can be found in the Brooklyn Bridge as well as Buckingham Palace!









The cemetery was designed as both a cemetery and a park and the Victorians used to come to the park and enjoy a picnic lunch. It is so hard to imagine going to a cemetery to each lunch with tombstones all around you, although people jog in this cemetery all the time.

The history was amazing and so interesting. The students were very reverent in their presentations and threw themselves into the performance. I will definitely plan to attend next year.


If you like history or are just interested in the town you live in, I highly recommend searching out your local historical society and find out if there is a ghost walk or cemetery walk in your town.. more than likely there is. I urge you to attend and discover your local history for yourself! It's absolutely fascinating!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Smell of Cider and Donuts

Cinnamon and Apples. Donuts and Cider. A slight Crispness in the Air.







Someone flipped the switch, it's fall!











I love, love, love fall!  Already the nights are getting a crispness about them that tells us the leaves are soon to be turning. Time to bunker down for warm and cozy mother nature seems to be saying.


Even Morning Glory the chicken is glad the summer is over!
Let me be the first to say I'm glad to see summer go this year. It was a hard summer to say the least. For almost three months we had no rain and for those of us still on wells, that means a very scary proportion. In the nineteen years we've been here, it has never been this dry and hot!  Water had to be conserved for animals and people so needless to say, the garden suffered horribly and we've only got a handful of tomatoes to show for it. I've lost two of my fruit trees and got very little in the realm of our raspberries and no grapes. At the peak of the drought, we were 9 inches below where we should have been! Thank goodness we have finally started to get rain. I don't feel 100% better yet but it's getting better.


So goodbye and good riddance to Summer 2016!


On to Fall!

This is the first year I really didn't can much due to the water situation. Typically I buy tomatoes to supplement my garden supply for canning anyway but with a bushel being $16 this year, I only canned once then wondered if it was even worth it at that price. I always feel better however knowing what my family is eating and I do have a serious canning addiction.





Today was our visit to Rob's Apple Orchard for a bushel of apples. Northern Spies are my apples of choice as my Great Grandmother S always said that they were the best for canning and baking but I found out today they will not be available for another two weeks and I want to can NOW! Needless to say I bought a bushel of 20 oz'er an proceeded to make and can the copycat recipe for a Famous Market Restaurant's Apples. I must have gotten this recipe of the internet at some point but needless to say, it's a keeper that I make every year and it's too good not to share. I've scaled this up to canning portions and while I was a tad exhausted, it was a good kind of exhausted... the kind that you know you accomplished something.

Famous Market Restaurant's
Copycat Dessert Apples

(Scaled up for Canning, Makes 5-6 Quarts)

24 apples
16 tsp butter
5 1/3 c water
4 Tbsp flour
3 cups brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
8 tsp cornstarch
dash of salt

For canning:

Fruit fresh
Lemon juice
Water



Peel all your apples and submerge them in water spiked with 1/4 lemon juice, enough to cover apples.

In a large pot, melt your butter. As it is melting, begin putting in your brown sugar. As that begins to melt together pour in your water with the remaining ingredients. Cook it for about five mins until it all starts coming together in a wonderful syrup. Once it does, put in your apples and stir until coated.


Fill clean and warmed canning jars. Put 1 tsp of Fruit Fresh in each canning jar. Use a kitchen knife around the edges to eliminate any bubbles in the jars. Wipe down the threads and top of the jars. Boil your canner lids in a separate saucepan and with tongs, place on the cleaned jars. Immediately screw down your canning lid and submerge them into your canner. I processed mine in a pressure canner for about 30 mins. Remove from canner and place on a room temperature surface (I usually put them on a towel on the counter. (I would not place them on a glass top range.) Check that all the lids have sealed the next day and proudly put them in your pantry to enjoy in lunches, as desserts or anytime the need arises! Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Girl's Got Glass...


Check off one more entry on my crafting bucket list! 

If you noticed the blog was a little quiet the past week it was because we took a staycation.

Stay= Home

(Va) cation= no funds to go anywhere else






Actually, while it wasn't as relaxing as one would hope, we did do a couple of really fun things. One of those was going to the Corning Museum of GlassFor as long as I've lived in the Rochester region, I have wanted to visit this place. It's located near the Pennsylvania border and, while the area is primarily known for the glass museum, there is also a fun little village to walk around and the Rockwell Museum to tour.


 

 







 














Not only can you see wonderful displays, but you can also watch artisans make glass right in front of your eyes in several different demos. It's amazing!


 




To watch some take 2000 degree class and blow it into a usable or beautiful creation is simply spectacular and would have been a treat just in itself. 








But the one thing I've always wanted to do is make my own Christmas ornament in glass. My mother still has one from her old tree growing up and I always wanted to create one to have a family heirloom to hand down. To actually have an ornament that you actually used your breath to create and to watch this liquid bit of goo become an actual object is phenomenal and not something I'm going to forget anytime soon.

Here is how it was done...


This is frit.
First, our teacher took out a blow pipe and grabbed some liquid glass from the kiln. She had us just clean off the end and put a cardboard protector on it.

The pipe is hollow but its so long that there is no real chance of inhaling any glass.




Adding color to the ornament.


She then grabbed some frit (small glass shards) in the colors we selected and rolled the liquid glass in it.Up until she puts the frit onto the liquid glass, the glass is essentially clear.


This little mold creates the spiral.


You had a choice to do a smooth ornament or a spiral one. Each of us chose the spiral one although we did choose different shapes as you'll see. To create the spirals, after she put in the frit covered glass into the kiln, she took it out and immediately put it in this mold then removed it.






Then it is time to blow this ornament into being while she shapes it.
Starting to look like an ornament now!



My son choose to create a teardrop shape.



I think my son's colors look the best and it's funny because when he chose this I thought, "Yikes"!


She then takes the glass (there are several trips to the kiln) and creates the glass loop to hang the ornament.


T
...And just like magic, you have an ornament!


Steve's Ornament

My Ornament

Dixon's  Ornament


If you ever find yourself near Corning, New  York, I highly recommend a day  trip to the Corning Museum or sign up for a class. Coming up they have a class to create your own glass pumpkin. I may have to take another day trip... too much fun!