A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘weather’

Baked Potato Soup


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.


Tried and True, or not

rice cooker

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.cookbookOh 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.

A Feline House Guest

I’ve written about Violet before.  At nearly 11 years old she’s my oldest barn cat.  She lives a mostly solitary life because she refuses to associate with the other barn cats, and she’s terrified of most humans.  Violet loves me.  She chose me to be her person and so I’ve always watched her closely to be sure she’s doing well.  This winter has been hard on all of us.  I noticed Violet shivering  at times, and because she’s pretty old for a farm cat I felt like she needed special care.  So I brought her in the house.  I’m hoping she’ll be ready to return to her previous life of freedom when the weather warms up.  Her residency here has been almost trouble free.  I’m surprised that Violet has taken to using a litter box as if she’d been doing it her whole life.  She had never been in  the house before.  She learned quickly that the kitchen table is off limits.
We do have a serious problem though.  Charlie.  Violet hates Charlie.  I hoped at first that they would meet, be wary, and tolerate each other.  They rumbled twice.  First time wasn’t too bad.  Violet tried to kill Charlie, he backed off and left her alone.  The second time was more violent and Violet clawed his face, very close to his eye.  Charlie has typical Boston Terrier eyes and they are vulnerable.  I’m now very afraid that Violet will scratch his eyes out, so I keep them safely apart.   They each have plenty of roaming time, but just not together.
Violet’s favorite place to be is wherever I am and especially in my lap.  I’m determined that she will not be a permanent house cat, but time will tell.

Competing with the computer

Competing with the computer

Charlie 2/14

Charlie 2/14

Snuggling in my lap.

Snuggling in my lap.

April 2013 Newsletter


Shirley and I made our annual trek to Las Vegas.  Fun and relaxation were had by all.  Our only disappointment was that the Donny and Marie show was cancelled and we had been looking forward to it.  We did go to Blue Man Group and that was a fun and very loud show.  We had good seats, and we enjoyed the show.  Weather was a bit chilly on the first couple of days but it made for very comfortable walking.  We had some excellent meals, including the Cravings buffet at the Mirage.  We visited the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.  It’s an aquarium.  We got free tickets through the MLife Players Club rewards game , My Vegas.
I have an album of photos from our trip on Facebook.  Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200307594110975.1073741826.1187642981&type=1&l=44bed9c791
Weather has been the topic of conversation all month.  Wet and cold!  I don’t know when the fields will be dried out enough to begin spring field work.
lamb smudgeLambing began mid month, and there are still 2 ewes left to lamb.Again this year there are triplets and twins.  We had one poor ewe who had toxemia and lost her twins, but Lee was able to save the ewe.  It seems like lambing season is never trouble free.  I’m not sure how many lambs there are, but I’m guessing 22.  Mostly boys!  The little guy in the picture was born with the huge black spot on his hip.  It will fade with time.

Collin is back on American soil, back from Afghanistan.  It’s a huge relief.  We’ll see him in July, along with the rest of the family, when we go to OKC for a wedding.

Star 4-13The horses are shedding!   They’re itchy and need to be bathed and brushed, but it’s too cold.

I’m enjoying the return of the migratory birds.  I’ll bet the birds aren’t all that happy to be back.  Kildeer are nesting on the cold ground.  Robins are finding worms now but I wonder what they ate while the ground was still frozen.  The barn swallows are here, but we don’t have any bugs yet!

January/February 2013

jan-13 horses     The first two months of 2013 have been  typically boring for me.  It’s the weather.  It’s cold.  It snows.  The wind blows.  I’m forced to go outside twice a day to care for my animals, but the rest of my time is spent indoors within the confines of my cozy home. We live in the country and   I hate driving on icy winter roads, so I don’t go anywhere alone.  Lee takes me to the grocery store about every 7 to 10 days and we usually also hit the drugstore and have lunch somewhere while we’re in town.  That is my winter life.  It’s why I look forward to spring so fervently.


charlie footWe did have a couple of events that broke up the monotony for us.  Our Boston Terrier Charlie had grown some lumps and warty things that needed to be removed.  There was a large lump on the pad of his paw that turned out to be a benign tumor. We had to keep that paw bandaged for two weeks, and I have to say he really milked it for sympathy.  He held that paw up pathetically whenever anyone was looking at him.  We carried him up and down stairs and such so that he wouldn’t pounce and rip his stitches.  He got to the point where he expected to be carried.  He’s all healed now and he should be able to go for long walks with me when the weather gets nicer.

jd visit jan-13JD made a work related  trip to Wisconsin and stayed with us the nights he was here.  I loved having him here, doing Mom stuff for him.  All three of my children have moved out of state and I just don’t see them often enough.  I miss them.



Looking forward to:  My annual trip to Las Vegas with my Vegas buddy (and sister-in-law) Shirley; A trip to Oklahoma City in July for a family wedding; and long term, a trip to Hawaii in 2014.  These planned vacations keep me alive in winter!


December 2012 Newsletter

Aunt Rachel

In Memory of

Rachel J. Henley

September 6, 1919 – December 19, 2012

Of Jackson, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at the age 93. She was preceded in death by her husband, Haskell Henley and daughter, Marilyn Seller. She is survived by her sons, Bob (Mary) Henley and Ronald Henley; son in-law, Bob Seller; grandchildren, Deb Hein, Bob Henley, Doug Henley, Teresa Dukes, Don Simmons, Tim Simmons and Kelsie Stevens; thirteen great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild as well as many nieces and nephews. She was born September 6, 1919 to Harry and Daisy Young in Jackson. Rachel was a proud homemaker; she enjoyed cooking, sewing and knitting. She had a strong faith in the Lord and was a Sunday school teacher, played the piano and participated in the choir at Sycamore Baptist Church.

This is part of the published obituary for my Aunt Rachel.  I’ll just add that she was a remarkable person and that I have many happy memories of time spent with her, Uncle Hass, and my cousins.  Aunt Rachel’s picture should be in the dictionary next to the word NURTURING.

Christmas was nice.  Aubrey and Carys, Meredith, and Paige & her little family were here.  Kids opened gifts and played.  We had too much delicious food.  We Skyped with Kay and her family and with Nikki .  Collin called on Christmas eve and JD called Christmas day..  We forgot to take pictures!

blizzard12-20-12   We had a blizzard on the 20th and 21st.  When all was said and done we got 20 inches of very wet and heavy snow.  Drifting was impressive.  It took Lee 2 days to dig us out and plow driveways and paths.

I spent a few days getting caught up on the farm books so Lee can meet with the accountant.  Yes, I know that I should do a better job of keeping up, but I tend to procrastinate on this job and play catch up every year.

Happy New Year family and friends.


October 2012 Newsletter

This has been a busy month on the farm.  Lee is working at getting the corn harvested, and is nearly finished as I write this.  We had some rainy days that held up the harvest but we’re back on track now.  It’s been a month of transition weather wise.  It got cold and the leaves fell quickly from the trees.  Temps have been in the 40’s during the day, with 20’s and 30’s at night.  I had to set up my heated water buckets for the horses after they froze pretty solid one night.

Speaking of horses, if you read this blog regularly, you know that we lost Cody.  You can read the post about him here.
Box elder bugs!  Oh my gosh!  These things have taken over the world!  We used to have problems with lady bugs, but this fall we saw very few of them.  It’s the box elder bugs  crawling everywhere.  Save me from box elder bugs.

I sent a box to Collin in Afghanistan.  It took 16 days to get to him.  I’ll have to keep that in mind when I send his next package.  I want him to get it by Thanksgiving.  He called when it arrived and said the (stale) cookies were all gone already.  I hope no one got sick from eating them.
We spent a lot of time worrying about our family members and friends who were in the path of Hurricane/superstorm Sandy.  All of our people made it through safely, with power outages being the most common problem for them.   We even felt the winds here in Wisconsin.  CNN has been a constant backdrop in our house.

Somehow this page got all messed up.  The photo alignment isn’t right, but I don’t know how to fix it, so….sorry 🙂

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