It’s been a long and difficult summer. We did have some high spots, but also several lows.
One of the highs was the unexpected birth of our little kitten Henry. He’s been so much fun to watch and play with. The kids love going to the barn to play with him. He’s a barn kitty, but tame and not afraid of anyone. I plan to get him neutered when he’s old enough.
My daughter Kay, and granddaughter Regan were here for a week. They hadn’t been back to Wisconsin (they live in CT) for 4 years so it was great to have them. Our visit was a good one. Their trip was not so good as Kay’s suitcase was lost and never found. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures! I have no idea why I didn’t.
The summer has been long and hot, and humid. We’re now into mid September, and still dealing with temps in the 80’s. That’s not normal for Wisconsin. On August 28 Our area of the state was hit by a crazy storm system. When all was said and done, the weather folks counted 19 tornados in this area. One of them hit our farm and we lost lots of trees. An ancient black walnut, and an equally ancient giant maple tree. Several pine trees that we planted 30 years ago. Too many trees to count. The property looks so changed and because it’s been so hot, we sure miss the shade.
Oh my gosh, the mosquitoes! I’ve never seen them so thick. They rise up in heavy clouds with each step across the yard. The bites are numerous and itchy. We’ve found that the only relief is a 40% DEET spray. The regular 25% spray does nothing. We’re waiting for some cold weather to kill off all the nasty bugs.
Our old mini horse stallion died in July. He was nearly 31 years old and had lived here for 25 of those years. He choked and although we (with the vet) worked on him for over 2 hours we just couldn’t resolve it. He was also suffering congestive heart failure and our efforts to break up the choke just became to hard for him. We made the decision to euthanize him. It was a very hard day. Our vet was amazing. Artie was loved by all who knew him
I decided that I’m done expanding my Christmas village. I have filled my available space. Merry Christmas !
We had our annual fall visit from the Michigan cousins last weekend. We always have a good time with them.This time we took a day trip to Wisconsin Dells on Saturday, which Ron had always wanted to see. We went on the Upper Dells boat trip and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. Temp was 68/70, not a cloud in the sky, light breeze. We were on the top (open) deck. We wandered around town for a short while, had big,juicy burgers in a bar, and bought fudge for our dog sitter.
On Friday night we went out for fish fry at our favorite tavern in town. The food was good, as always.
It was a fun weekend.
No real resolutions for 2017. I would like to get serious about playing my ukulele so that’s going to be a goal for me. I’d like to do a better job of blogging too, but I can’t figure out what direction to take with it. I do enjoy sharing recipes so I know I’ll continue to do that.
I have some milestones coming up this year. My 70th birthday in March, and our 30th anniversary in October. No plans yet for either event.
I made a delicious lentil soup last night. Here’s what I put in it. I used the slow cooker, but it could be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top.
Lentil with Ham Soup
1 pound lentils
1 ham bone or smoked hock
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes with celery/peppers/onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
I used the ham bone just to flavor the soup. I didn’t pick the meat off into the soup.
Happy New Year!
This is a hearty and flavorful soup. Perfect for cold winter dinners.
My only note for this recipe is to use baked potatoes. Boiled potatoes won’t do the trick. You need that special, nutty taste that only a baked potato can give you. Trust me.
4 baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper, white
7 cups lowfat milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Bake potatoes at 350 for 65-75 minutes or until tender. Cool completely. Peel and cube.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt butter and stir in flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Gradually add milk while whisking. Bring to a boil and simmer while stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add potatoes, bacon, onions, and cheese. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes.
Add sour cream and remove from heat.
Garnish each bowl as desired with bacon, chives, grated cheese.
Makes 8 servings.
As we age it becomes inevitable that we begin to lose family and friends of our generation. Unfortunately for this family, we’ve had a cluster of deaths in a very short amount of time.
The first of three losses was my cousin Sonny. Two years younger than me. One of the nicest and most caring people you’ll ever know. His death was shocking, as it was so unexpected. It was his heart. He died on Christmas Eve. His family and friends are missing him.
Then, on January 12 I received a phone call from a stranger, telling me that my brother Tommy had died. Tom was very much estranged from the family and I was listed as his next of kin. How should I feel about this? I hadn’t seen him since he was 21 years old, 44 years ago. He lived a life of emotional pain, and spent time in prison. He died alone, a pauper, from a heart attack followed by a stroke. I’m sorry about his life and death. I feel sad that he made so many bad choices. I hope he’s resting in peace.
Finally (I hope) Lee’s older brother Arlan passed away yesterday, January 15. His death was not unexpected. He had a heart condition and had been on home hospice care for some time. His family was with him when he passed. He was 18 years older than Lee and they weren’t close until later years. Arlan was loved by family and friends.
I still have to care for the cremains of my brother, and we will be going through the funeral and grieving process for Lee’s brother. After that we’ll look forward to brighter days in 2016.
Christmas is over and I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my cyber pocket. I’ve been wanting to buy a rice cooker and I’ve read and heard that they can be used for lots more than cooking rice. So not only did I order a rice cooker, I also ordered a recipe book, full of recipes for this particular brand of rice cooker. The book says right on the front cover that the recipes are “tried and true”. What does “tried and true” mean to you? To me it means that every recipe in this book (hundreds of them) has been tested by the author or her agents. Am I wrong?
This morning Lee texted me from the barn and asked me to make hot cereal for breakfast. Our temps are in the single digits. I remembered when paging through the recipes in my new book I saw a couple of oatmeal recipes, so since I had some time before Lee finished chores I decided to try the one I found using steel cut oats.Oh my gosh! I put the ingredients into the rice cooker bowl and let ‘er rip. A few minutes later I heard a noise. It was the kind of noise that needs to be investigated quickly. Even though I was quick, I didn’t avoid THE MESS. The oatmeal was boiling over. It also boiled into. I managed to finish it by leaving the lid open. I ended up with a very small amount of oatmeal for us to eat, and a lot of oatmeal for me to clean up. It was all over the counter. It was running down the sides of the cooker. It had spilled into the heating area and burned there. It was under the lip of the lid. I blame the cookbook author. I followed her instructions to the letter.
I did google my predicament and I found that I’m not the only sucker trying to make oatmeal in a rice cooker and failing.
The whole “tried and true” phrase pulled me in and led me astray. The world is full of liars!
I’m going to stay with rice for a while. I’ve learned my lesson and I’m gun shy.