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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catching up

It’s been forever since I’ve posted.  Where does the time go?  We’ve been busy of course, but I didn’t think we’ve been busier than usual.

September 19th was our first Pasture Anniversary!  It was a year ago that day that we bought our beloved piece of land.  We didn’t have a great big celebration, but we took time to look at some pictures and reflect on what a wonderful dream come true it has been to buy or little slice of heaven on earth and to see how far we’ve come in one short year.  The pasture looked like a moonscape last year.  We were going through an exceptionally severe drought, but the land had been abused and not respected.  Now, the entire pasture is covered in thick green grass.  Next spring, as long as we get some rain, we should be able to start cutting hay.  Long-time residents of the area have often stopped and told us that before this property was divided into 10 acre parcels, our little piece was one of the most beautiful hay fields in all the area.

I’ve started a new job, which contributes to some of my writing neglect.  And hubby will be starting a new one next week!  October has been a huge month for new jobs in our household.  And we are so very grateful!!  What a change from the last couple of years where we each endured being laid off and the worries of trying to find a job.

I might have mentioned before that I make my own coffee creamer.  I started reading the ingredients on the bottles of the popular store-bought ones, and holy cow, some of those words were kind of scary.  So I started making my own.  I still use products from a can, but the list of ingredients is very simple:  one can of evaporated milk (contents = milk) and half a can of sweetened condensed milk (contents = milk and sugar).  To that I add 3 teaspoons of vanilla (real vanilla, not imitation extract).  It does taste different than that chemical-laden store stuff, but I’ll tell you what, I can’t stand that stuff from the store now.   It just tastes like plastic compared to my homemade.

Six weeks ago, I also endeavored to start making our bread instead of buying it.  We’ve talked about doing that for a very long time and just hadn’t made it happen yet.  The first week I tried a recipe that made two loaves.  It was pretty good.  We couldn’t eat the second loaf fast enough and it got moldy…unlike the store-bought bread that sat in our cabinet for FOUR WEEKS and never had a spot of mold on it.  That’s way more gross that bread that has mold on it!!  The next week, I tried a new recipe for oatmeal sandwich bread that I found at King Arthur’s flours.  I made a few modifications and we have had a winner!  I’ll tell you what, even our dogs know the difference between the homemade and store-bought stuff!  Now if that doesn’t tell you something… I use our kitchenaid mixer to make the dough and then let it rise, punch it down and put it in the loaf pan, let it rise again and bake it.  It’s getting easier every week as I get it down to a routine.  And once the dough is made, you can get other stuff done in between the risings and baking.  I tell you, it is wonderful stuff.

This week I made a second batch of bread dough and made Apple Surprise Rolls – little circles of dough filled with chopped apples, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.   What a yummy treat - great for breakfast, snack, any time really. 

In the garden, I have three cucumbers growing, but I don’t know how productive they’ll be this late in the season.  I have a zucchini squash with at least one zucchini on it.  The pepper plants never really died even though I quit watering them when they quit producing.  So I started watering them again and they are full of blossoms.  Go figure.  We’ll see what they do.  I noticed I have two tomato plants that came up volunteer by the cucumber plants.  And dead basil plants have come back to life!  Plus there are a gazillion little baby basils that are coming up from seeds that fell.

We also picked up some cabbage and broccoli plants from our local general store this weekend.  I had every intention of growing my own cabbage from seed, but it never happened.  Argh.  I’ve never grown cabbage or broccoli before, but they are cold weather plants, so we’ll see how they do in our mild winter climate.  I also have some southern variety garlic to plant.  Obviously I need to get busy in the garden again! Oh happy days !

We have two new “barn kitties” that showed up in the last two weeks…just days apart.  Guess word is out in the kitty kingdom that we are a safe haven for wayward kitties. One little black kitten that we’ve since figured out is a boy, is so tiny – honestly he can’t be more than 8-10 weeks old.  It just frightens me to think of what he went through to make it to us.  Even if someone dumped him, to be out in the world all alone and that little is just awful.  Pretty quickly, he has let us pet him and now lets us hold him.  He’s starting to come running every time we get home from work or come outside.  He’s the sweetest little thing!  Hubby started calling him Kicking Bird (another Dances With Wolves reference), KB to his friends and family.  A couple of days after he showed up another little kitten showed up.  This one is a little older, but not much.  She’s orange with leopard spots and probably about 4 months old, maybe.  She’s much more shy.  She used to run the second we walked out the door, but now she hangs around a little closer every day.  When she sees KC getting attention and he’s purring, you can tell she wants to come be loved on too.  I’m sure she’ll be cozying up very soon.  We’ve made a box of paper shreds for them to “nest” in and also and box with some straw.

Well, I guess if I blogged more often, it wouldn’t take so long to catch up!

Until next time, worms rock.

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