Archive for November, 2009

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BAR COOKIE TRAIN

November 29, 2009

I messed up. All this is very new to me: Blogging, Cookie Trains, Dial-up Internet, GMT… What the heck is GMT anyway? Uh oh. Just found out what GMT is, and I’m due to post RIGHT NOW! And I haven’t made my Chocolate Caramel bars yet. My sincerest apologies to my “train gang.” My only consolation is that we’re due to air this at midnight. If you’re anything like me, you’re definitely NOT on the Internet at midnight! You’re sound asleep! So, while my cookie swap pictures are still in the oven, i’ll get my post ready. my biggest frustration with dial up is that each picture takes about 30 minutes to load, and I hope to post several in this blog.

So now, here is my Cookie Swap contribution.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BARS
Ingredients:
2 1/2 Cups flour – divided
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 Cups packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cups cold butter (3 sticks!)
2 Cups Chocolate chips – semi sweet
1 Cup chopped pecans (I used Walnuts)
1 Jar (12 oz) Caramel ice cream topping

note: the caramel sauce is the only ingredient you may have trouble finding in the UK – maybe not. This is what it looks like here in the U.S.

Directions:
Combine:
2 Cups flour, 2 Cups rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda & salt.
Cut in cold butter until crumbly.
Set aside 1/2 of this mix.
Press 1/2 crumble mix into 13 X 9 in. greased baking pan.

Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle on nuts and chocolate chips.
Whisk caramel topping and 1/4 cup flour and drizzle over top.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 crumble mix on top.
Bake 350 degrees 18 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool 2 hours before cutting.
Serve in small pieces – Very rich!

There now, three pictures and 4 1/2 hours later…

I’m so glad you stopped by! Be sure to check out another delicious cookie recipe  on this “Cookie Swap Blog Train” at:

http://www.beglorious.blogspot.com/

Hope to meet with you again soon!

And You Thought I Was Kidding!

November 29, 2009

Nope, I wasn’t kidding. Here’s to the new goat shed!

I Knew We Saved Those Garage Doors For A Reason!

November 24, 2009

OK I’ll admit it. We’re scroungers. We collect stuff. We can’t drive by a trash pile without scanning it for treasures – and my husband has an eagle’s eye! Our home is mostly furnished with items we’ve either gotten from freecycle, garage sales or curbside. It’s amazing the things people throw away! My husband is a home remodeler, so oftentimes his customers will offer him furnishings that they are replacing – once it was an entire kitchen cabinet remodel complete with dishwasher, stove and microwave! You should see it, it’s gorgeous! I’ll tell you the story some time!
  Anyway, as a builder, my husband keeps “miscelleanous building components” with the promise that  “He’ll use them some day.” I figure that if he allows me my fettishes, I can do the same for his. Thankfully, we have 40 acres on which to stash these so-called “treasures”. 
About 4 or 5 years ago we replaced our garage doors, and they made their way to the farm, where they’ve sat, out in the weather, ever since.

 And two years ago, after rebuilding hurricane damaged fences, an entire trailer-load of 6 ft privacy fence made it’s way from Houston to our farm in Florida.


Well, low and behold, this weekend we decided to section off part of our pasture exclusively for our cow. She’s been living quite happily with our goats, but she’s due to calve in Feb. and then she’ll need to be milked, so she needs a little privacy.  Don’t you know, true to his word, my wonderful husband built Lily a cowshed and he used the garage doors and fence panels! And it’s not so bad. Believe me, I know white trash when I see it. I like to think of this as a politically correct  cowshed – “being green” and using what we have. Lord knows, we’re not financially wealthy, but we are BLESSED!  My husband can fix anything, build anything, reuse anything, and for that I am so thankful! Even if I do have to overlook garage doors leaning against a tree for four years!

 You know, I think I’d like a bigger goat shed in our breeding pen…and I’m sure, just last week, I saw our neighbors’ garage doors out for the trash.

Finding Balance

November 22, 2009

It’s the hardest thing to do here on the farm – FIND BALANCE. So much to do, so little time. I want to scrap. I want to Blog, I want to garden, I want to spend time with the animals, I want to turn compost, I want to organize and clean up the farm, I have to cook, I have to do laundry, I have to sweep, vacuum, mop, I have to feed the animals, and the family, I have to homeschool the boys, I have to milk the goats…twice a day. Believe me, when the day is done, after milking at 7:30 I am too tired to do anything! Just veg. I’ll keep looking. Balance has to be around here somewhere!

When Life Gives You Bananas – Make Muffins!

November 17, 2009

Volunteering at the Ironman has its perks! When the race is over our Run Station is usually left with at least a case of bananas – usually more. Years ago, before I realized I could FREEZE bananas (DUH!) I would spend days making massive amounts of banana bread and muffins. I’m talking 30+ loaves and 50 pans of muffins. (I hate to let things go to waste!) This year I froze a case of bananas and kept just a few bunches to enjoy. Tonight I made this batch of muffins.

You probably have your own favorite recipe, but this one is worth a try!:

Combine:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl mix:

  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2-3)

Combine all ingredients and spoon into a greased and floured muffin tin and bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

To Outsmart a Guinea

November 15, 2009

This morning I got up at 6, poured a cup of coffee, lit a fire in the fireplace (the heat isn’t working right now and it was a bit chill in the house this morning- the first fire of the season is always so lovely.) So i enjoyed my coffee, got on-line for a bit, and then made breakfast for myself and Uncle Tim, keeping my eye on the clock, knowing that I had to milk around 7:30. TOTALLY FORGETTING that today I was on my own with no one else to help feed and water and tend to all the animals! Needless to say I was a little late getting started. I found that you have to have a system to feeding, especially when grain or cat food is involved. You see, we have 40+ guineas that roam the farm like a school of fish, and they have decided that they LOVE grain! So much so that they will swarm the feed bowls prohibiting any other animal to eat. And they know the feeding schedule! So, this morning I began to out-fox them. I scattered scratch (chopped corn bits) on the driveway and raced to the barn to feed the cats. Then over to the milking pen where I fed the kids their grain and milked Fawn. This was a new routine for the guineas so they stayed busy on the road. After taking care of the milk – she gives a quart of milk twice a day, I brought hay to the three goat pens, fed the chickens, and grained the other goats. I think the trick is to vary the schedule so the guineas don’t catch on.

IMG_8416

These are guineas. Quite ugly, don’t you think? Their claim to fame is that they will rid your yard of bugs – especially ticks, so I’ve heard, so they are a popular farm bird. I think they’re cool – so unusual looking – almost prehistoric. And I love the noise they make – Very loud and obnoxious. They call to each other and wander the property in a flock.

After feeding and watering all the animals, I weeded another garden box to plant tomorrow and watered the garden and greenhouse. Oh, and I finally finished turning the compost pile today! (five more to go!)

This afternoon while I was out watering the blueberry bushes, I was watching a small goat that has had me concerned. I wormed her yesterday because she was thin and just didn’t seem right. Well, while I watched – down she went! So I carried her to an enclosed area and gave her her own hay, grain and water and I’ll be keeping a close eye on her. She seemed better this evening. I think perhaps, because she’s one of the smallest goats, that she hasn’t been getting her fair share of the food. I’ll keep her isolated for awhile and see if I can nurse her back to health.

I love being here at the farm. I love the full days of good hard work! The only drawback is that I’m too tired to scrap when the day is done.

No mouse yet – Master bath is clear.

A Mouse in the House!

November 14, 2009

There’s a mouse in the house! As if I didn’t have enough to do! Bob is trying to convince me that it’s probably just a “field mouse.” I’d like to believe him – the “R” word gives me the heebie jeebies. So now, on top of everything else I am on a Mouse Hunt. That means… every drawer, every cabinet, every hiding spot (and believe me, there are PLENTY!) has to be gone through until I find this critter! The big question though, is… What do I do when I find it?! Obviously I want it OUT! But I can’t use poison – too many other animals that could happen across it, and I don’t think I could deal with a trap. The end result of a trap is either a dead rodent, or one still squirming. EEEWWW. Oh!     Did I mention that my husband and boys have left for the weekend on a camping trip??!! What about the RA… mouse?! All I can say is – it had better leave on its own, stay hidden or the dogs/cats better get it!

Please Lord, give me patience.. And give it to me NOW! That’s me. There is so much to do around here – and I want it all done TODAY!! But I’m just going to have to take things “one bite at a time.”

Today I:

  • cleared out a 4X4 square foot garden box
  • planted carrots
  • brought in a wheelbarrow load of firewood from the pasture after Bob cut down several trees
  • worked on a compost pile
  • and all the other various tasks that go along with being a mom: cooking, cleaning, laundry, more cleaning…

And I LOVE it!

PS – My daughter in moving to France for 3 months – how cool is that?!

OH! And low and behold, I finished a layout that I found buried under 3 inches of dust on my scrapbook table that I started.. years? ago. If you know me, you know i take a terribly long time to make even the simplest of layouts. But here it is. (Dial-up don’t fail me now!)

Letter from Pres Reagan

Reagan too

The letter from the White House reads:
Dear Mr. Riehl:
I was delighted to learn about your “Woolies” and the good they are doing for the youth of your community.  This great country of ours was built through the dedication, faith, and hard work of individuals, and it continues to flourish today because those same qualities are alive and well in people like you.  I applaud your achievements and wish you many more years of happiness and fulfillment.
Knowing that you are ill, Nancy and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.  God bless you.

Sincerely,
Ronald  Reagan

 

My journaling reads:

We had a beautiful memorial service for my dad in our backyard in upstate N.Y.  Just as we finished, the mailman delivered this letter, addressed to my dad, from the then, President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan. What an honor!
Years later I decided to finally scrap the letter, and went to my local scrapbook store to find suitable papers. While there, I shared the story with Jennifer, the owner of Scrapbook Studio.
“Would you like photographs of President Reagan’s funeral?” another customer asked me.  She was visiting from Virginia, had attended the former President’s funeral processional and had overheard my conversation. This wonderful stranger took my information, and to my absolute surprise, months later I received, not only Great pictures, but the announcement as well.  And now, here I am again, more years later, finally getting it down on paper.     Nov 2009

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

November 13, 2009

OMG. (OH MY GOSH!)  We made it and just look at the mess! So, how do you eat an elephant?  …One bite at a time. I sure am missing my daughter right now.   She’s amazing.  She has this supernatural gift for cleaning and organization.  Me?  NO WAY! I take one look at a room that’s in desperate need of cleaning and de-cluttering and I’m exhausted just looking at it.
It takes me forever just to figure out where to begin. In the time it takes me to begin, my daughter is almost finished. She has this knack of jumping in and getting it done in no time! Not only has she cleared every clutter pile, but she’s put everything in it’s place, the whole room sparkles and between disinfectant and candles she makes it all smell delicious too!  I don’t know how she does it or where she gets her gift from, but it’s nothing short of miraculous!

Here’s what I’m dealing with now:

Picture 011

And that’s just my bedroom!

So we made it to the farm. And three hours later I’ve managed to pull up my Blog 😉 Yes, this will be quite the challenge!  So today, my goals are:

 

  • to unload and unpack
  • to begin digging out my scrapbook table (Yes, the table here is as buried as the one in town!)
  • I’ve already done the morning milking
  • to begin a compost pile

Well, not exactly a pile – a “kitchen compost”, which I’ll take outdoors as the container fills and add to my outdoor compost pile.  If you don’t already do this, it’s a great way to build up your soil – even if you don’t garden.  Do you have houseplants?  Let me tell you, houseplants LOVE a boost of coffee grounds and eggshells and I’ve been told that it does wonders for roses too!  Another benefit is the savings – with your own compost you’ll no longer have to buy “Miracle Grow” for a mid-season pick-me-up.

So here’s what to do: find a suitable container. I’m using a plastic container with a lid. Anything works well – a bowl, large coffee can, a pot.. I prefer something with a lid so as not to attract flying critters (esp fruit flies)  Then fill it with all your organic kitchen material:

  • coffee grinds
  • eggshells
  • potato, carrot and other veggie peelings
  • hair
  • banana, orange and apple peels
  • nut shells
  • corn cobs and husks
  • stale bread
  • even non-meat products that have been in the fridge too long

Really, you’re only limited by your imagination! The only things that you should NOT compost are:

  • fats and oils
  • meat products
  • feces

 

Add to your container/pile little by little each day and soon you’ll have wonderful, rich compost! Now excuse me while i go outside to turn the pile I have working.

 

 

A New Journey Begins

November 12, 2009

Well, I’m off to the farm – off to dial-up internet. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes – I have enough trouble getting my blog right with high-speed connections!

Here’s a page I did for a circle journal months ago…

farmer

The picture flips up to reveal this journaling…

I WANNA BE A FARMER…

BUT MY KIDS ARE TOWNIES!

I’m ready to move to the farm.  As much as I love my house in town, it’s just too much work keeping 2 houses going – not to mention the expense! It took quite awhile to make this decision but when we are able to spend a few days at the farm it’s so encouraging to see how much Bob and I get done in a short time – it makes me believe that we could really make the farm beautiful if our time wasn’t so divided.  I love being there in the early mornings when it’s cool and foggy.  I love being there to milk the goats twice a day, and brush them and play with the kids.  I love working in the garden and watering the blueberry bushes.  I love building compost piles and burning brush and sitting by the fire at night.  I love gathering eggs and incubating guineas.  I love beekeeping and hearing the sound of the roosters crowing. I love the quiet, and I love our new cow, Lilly.  Having said all this, and having reached my decision, I know that right now I can’t move to the farm…   Because My Children Are Townies!  They don’t like the farm. They have jobs in town. They go to school in town and their friends are in town.  They love subdivisions & movie theaters, high-speed internet, WiFi, and the Mall.   Sigh… One day I’ll be a farmer.  But for now…  I’m a townie too.

Hello Dear Friend!

November 11, 2009

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.

         ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

103_8707

Yesterday I found myself in an area of town that seemed familiar and I suddenly recognized a street that an old friend lived on. So down I went.

 As a child, I was raised with conflicting viewpoints when it came to visiting friends and family. My mother FIRMLY believed that you should NEVER stop by one’s home without an invitation, while my dad was of the opinion that a true friend’s door was always open.  I tend to be more like my dad. I’m not very good at making appointments – I’m a “spur of the moment”  kinda girl, and, if I happen to be in your neighborhood, I just might stop by to say hello. 

Well I did.  I stopped in to see a beloved friend that I hadn’t seen in too long, and it was wonderful!  A cup of coffee together, catching up, and hearing the wonderful news that she is engaged to be married… It doesn’t get much better than that!  So, here’s to spontaneity, to friendship, to keeping in touch, and to popping in to say hello – even if you didn’t call first!

My dear friend, I am so happy for you! I’ve missed you! And I’ll be praying for you and your husband-to-be.