Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

I've been reading other bloggers posts today. Some were reviewing their year, others making some resolutions. One even talked about the blue moon tonight. As for me, I'll relay a mishmosh of things.
It's been a challenging year. Grandma's (my Mother) health overshadowed most of what consumed me for a while now. My wish for the New Year is that for her health to rebound and for her to enjoy life's treasures to the fullest.
I hope for a good economy so that my husband's small business can prosper and grow. I also hope for continued support of the local libraries so we can continue to serve our public to the best of our abilities.
I want to enjoy my family and farm. I want to take fun breaks with my husband and daughters and enjoy our lives together. I would like to add to the farm this year, but I fear that my first year with the bees will be enough for now. I hope to add to the garden and the orchard. We need to look into the fruit trees that are having growing difficulties (eg...deer!) and figure out how to help them be fruitful. I hope to add some elderberries (why do they smell so good when they are cooking?) and blueberry bushes too.
Well I'm off to see if I can spot a blue moon! Until next year....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My new quest...

My new quest is to try to support my local farmers and eat food grown Ohio. I found this fabulous web site...Ohio Proud. This is my new resource in this quest. At this site it lists products, regions and farms that one can search by. I will try to seek out these producers and try their products. I think 2010 may be a fun year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Music

Ok, I feel it's time to "chime" in on the Christmas music topic. I love Christmas music. We have several compliation albums that must include Bing Crosby's White Christmas, and a rendition of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and Santa Baby. I enjoy the Beach Boys Christmas album...gotta hear Little St. Nick. And for background I enjoy Kenny G and Manhattan Transfer's Christmas albums. But my all time favorite, A #1 Christmas Album for all time is the Muppets and John Denver's Christmas Album entitled A Christmas Together. What's not to love? Miss Piggy is priceless! I guess its the child in me.
My cd slots in my car are filled with the sounds of the holiday. Quoting the movie Elf..."The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." So as I commute back and forth to work you will see a little woman in her car just singing away... loudly! During that hour...I miss my cell phone calls from my husband and daughters because I'm just singing along. Good thing our windows are up! *smile* Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Catching up.

I've been somewhat lax in posting recently. My daughter took her camera back and I'll have to wait on Santa and hope he brings me a camera for Christmas. There have been many things I would love to show you, but for now we will have to wait.
I've been reading/lurking in on other blogs from around the world. I have been inspired by these people...mostly women (I truly don't know why that is...huh). Being inspired I have painted my entry door red and decorated the entry way for the season. See the website Front Porch Design.
I have updated my pantry shelves by buying some non-adhesive contact paper. Wow what a delightful update for this cramped space. This little change has improved my harried holiday mood.
(Please note: If I had a camera, I'd show you my pantry shelves). This change was inspired by the Farm Chicks. They painted their pantry shelves... I took the working woman's route and I'm very pleased.
I've been desperately trying to bake cookies for my Christmas table. My family, however, has other plans. They are enjoying the cookies and sharing them with their friends. So it's back to the kitchen next week to bake up a least two batches of cookies for the Christmas table.
The latest books that I've read are Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz. This is a young adult novel that continues the adventures of Alex Rider and Mr. Horowitz does not disappoint! I love that James Bond type stuff and eat his books up!
An adult title that I finished yesterday is The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman. You know I'm all over any book that talks about cookies and Christmas cookies are my favorite. The novel delves into the ladies that attend the yearly Christmas cookie club. This is not a novel for the faint of heart as it deals with many issues that occur in today's world. I did enjoy the story and the recipes and the informative little breaks between chapters. The author discusses such things as the history and uses of butter, salt, cinnamon, just to name a few. Now I want to start a Christmas Cookie Club! There's always next year!
I've also become intrigued by the notion of eating locally and trying to buy all local foodstuffs for cooking at home. Ok, I'm on it. I'll start with eggs! *laughs* I was baking my own bread for a while and need to get back to that, however, I started thinking--- how do I get locally milled flour? Hmmm. Now I'm searching around for local flour, butter and cheese. Here's a shout out to all my friends, if you know of any farmer or mill that sells its wares locally, let me know. This is going to be a fun adventure. Tonight my one local food item for the table was my canned spaghetti sauce. Yeah for me... my youngest daughter thought it was delicious (and it was). My inspiration for this idea came from Not So Urban Hennery
Lastly, I would like to host a screening of a movie about farmers entitled Fresh! the Movie inspired by the blog Friend of the Farmer. I think this would be neat.
Off to watch Julie/Julia with my daughters. I love Meryl Streep's performance in this movie!
Until next time...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Busy weekend

We have moved my mother into an Assisted Living facility near our home. I hope she will come to like this place. It is a beautiful place with an attentive and caring staff. We have moved her bed, chair, tv and brought her one of her ceramic Christmas Trees. Her room is warm and cozy. They posted her memory box outside her door over the weekend too. I gave them pictures of her holding one of our baby ducks (from this spring) and other pictures of our farm and her dog. She loves it!

I stopped by the local Farm Bureau office and registered with them. We are now an official member of the Ohio Farm Bureau.

I have baked a few more cookies. We have baked star cookies (Thanks Allison and Austin) and with Emily's expertise Pecan Tassies. This morning I made some stained glass cookies. I LOVE cookies! The theme for my story times for this week...Cookies! (For those of you who are unaware, I'm a children's librarian in a public library). Before we started baking, everyone selected the apron of their own choosing and we rolled up our sleeves and the proceeded to create some masterpieces.

The girls finished hanging the ornaments on our tree and our tree is a lovely expression of the family and the season.

Critter wise... I had to change all of the water buckets as the water was all frozen. We've had a cold snap come through and I decided that it was finally time to "plug it in"! Dogs, Alpacas and Chickens all have heated water dishes/buckets. I also re-installed the warming light in the chicken coop to keep my girls (and rooster) warm and happy. The dogs got extra bedding too.

Until next time....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Coookies

Hello everyone. Have you started your Christmas Cookie Baking? I tied-on my Christmas Apron and started last night with a double batch of snickerdoodles and a batch of butterballs. I learned I need to read the manual for my new oven. The bottom rack of the oven is hotter than the rest. I need to find out why. Guess how I know this. Yup, right in one... the cookies placed on the bottom rack were... slightly blackened.
Fast forward an hour, the lights are on- on the Christmas tree, the Christmas music is playing (an eclectic mix of the classics and some Kenny G thrown in.) A beautiful setting accompanied with a delightful cookie/vanilla smell. The family comes home from swim practice and states, "Wow the house smells great!" and devoured the cookies! I'm standing there watching them eat the cookies, and grabbing the milk. I managed to put away two dozen (out of four and a half of the snickerdoodles), although I expect after school today those will mysteriously disappear.
So tonight I shall begin this endeavor again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thank You, Rhonda. What beautiful cookie cutters. I had fun in this swap. I hope you can enjoy my goodies too...neighbor *wink*.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Tale

Now, I'm sure you've heard it all. But you haven't heard it all from me..*wink*!
I tried some new recipes this Thanksgiving with mixed results. I started with the Pumpkin Muffins from Ree Drummond... see for the recipe. I would have taken a photo but her photos are much better and I don't have any muffins left! These muffins were DELICIOUS!
Two comments about this recipe. She uses the muffin tin straight up! Meaning... no cup cake liners! I said, "No cup cake liners!" "Can this be done?" You see, I have cup cake liners for Winter, Christmas, Halloween, Fall, Valentine's Day, Easter, and the old standy by pastels. I can't not use cup cake liners. I think I need to start a support group. Hello, my name is Sheila and I use cup cake liners. Soooo... I sprayed the tin(cringing all the while)and filled them with the batter. I let them cool and PRESTO, the muffins fell right out! Ok, I feel a little better, but I'm not sure I can do this all the time.
Also included with the muffin recipe was the frosting recipe. A simple cream cheese frosting. I was doing just fine, cup of this, teaspoon of that and then....whamo... a half POUND of powdered sugar! WHAT! Where is the half pound marker on my measuring cup. Quick, to the Betty Crocker cookbook... dang... no conversion for a half pound of powdered sugar! My blondness is blooming right about now. I ended up putting in the powdered sugar in a 1/4 cup at a time and had my handy dandy taste testers help me figure out when to stop. I felt compelled to let you know,an airhead like me had a few obstacles.
Next, I wanted to try the butternut squash puree. Ummm. I like butternut squash. And the recipe said to use butter (I'm in) and Maple Syrup(Awesome!) I baked the squash, scraped out the pulp and put it into the blender... all is good. Except, the blender. As Flannel Man put it... "it's not the blender but the person using it." Hmmm. Is it wrong for me to expect to put something in the blender and expect it to ...I don't know...BLEND!? I pushed the button..ok all of the buttons and nothing. Oh.. it whirred. But didn't BLEND. Flannel man said I needed a cement mixer to do all that squash.
I said, "SIGN ME UP. Do they sell one at" "Well, Super Flannel Man,"I said, "what do you suggest I do?" He says, exasperatingly, "You have to take all that out and do a little at a time with water." "But dear," I say, "the recipe doesn't call for water." (I'm weird that way). So I pondered a moment, but I wanted to get done and did as he suggested. The puree was pretty, smelled good, but was ... a little watered down. OK. Check this off my list. Not an airhead approved recipe.
So, Flannel Man and I are moving on, he to the Sweet Potato casserole and me to the wilted lettuce. No problems there. But now there is a clicking noise. Now, I've heard this noise before and it hasn't been an issue. See we have a gas stove. (Do you know where this is going?) It's been clicking intermittently for a while, but has stopped in the past. Flannel man took off the element and plugged it back in. Still clicking. Oh well, we just kept on.. making the dinner. On to the mashed potatoes and gravy. The burner is still clicking. You know after a while that sound is annoying. I feel like its a timer and I'm on 'Beat the Clock' or something. Hurry, get that dinner done! Ahhh... stress!
Then flannel man turns on the burner and POOF! Yes, an actual, POOF! "Oh my," he declares. "Whoa," I say. He is reaching for the plug and I'm blowing out the fire...yes fire coming up through the knobs. Just to be clear, yes a gas stove has fire...on the burners. A fire, however, should not occur through the knobs. What an interesting odor. No longer did the house smell like sweet potatoes and turkey, but of an indescribable sulfur and electrical aroma. The gravy was finished but the rolls were not. We served the dinner. One of the darling daughters noted that we forgot to light our candles on the table. But she did come back with a witty reply..."That's ok Mom, We lit the stove instead"! *laughter all around*. Grandma shared our meal today and we are thankful that she is still with us,and that we have food and a warm home. We cleaned up after our meal and proceeded to move the stove out of the house.

We sang taps.

We are looking for a Black Friday sale on a stove!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tie One On!

National Tie One On day.... An Apron of course!
For all those Apronista's out there... tie one on today!
This is the apron I recently finished for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

'Twas the day before Thanksgiving

'Twas the day before Thanksgiving, and I'm scurrying about
with doctor appointments and forgotten ingredients from my grocery list.

When the going gets tough its time to take a break---
I'm going to make a pumpkin bread for Thanksgiving with a recipe from my friend Sue. (She won 1st place with this recipe at the Canfield Fair). How bad can I mess this up?
Don't you just love the little butters? Oops... this recipe doesn't use butter. Hmmm... a recipe without butter. What would Paula Deen or Ree Drummond say? What would Flannel Man say? Oh well, I'll be back butter.

Then I grabbed my mini loaf pans that I remember my Grandma using for her bread recipes. (For all my antique'e friends these are Cake King loaf pans--MADE IN THE USA! Obviously this is BC...(Before China)*wink* Come on group... how old are these?)

Then I dragged out my favorite baking bowl. Its a Longaberger Bowl that I bought for myself shortly after I married the Flannel Man. Ever since this has been my bowl for all my baking projects. The girls are warned within an inch of their lives not to break this bowl. They usually use another glass bowl of mine or the Tupperware! Sorry folks, but this is MINE.

And Voila! Through blogger magic a batch of pumpkin bread batter appears. It's missing something. I think I'll sprinkle some mini chocolate chips in...why put a good recipe in the oven without a good dose of chocolate. MMMMM... some for me... some for the batter.

Now we wait..... about an hour. I'll let you know how this pumpkin bread turns out.

Wait for it....

Wait for it...


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Mail and a Fun Find

The mail came today and my seeds from the Campbell Soup company arrived. Go to the Campbell soup web site and see if you can still get some free seeds. I think I'm going to laminate the see packet after I plant next spring. The packet is awesome.

I was at the grocery store the other day and spotted this. Yes, I will buy a bottle of wine because of the label. I really want a truck like this for my farm one day. How do I remove the label without destroying it?
The day before I asked my local wine shop owner for some Christmas themed bottles. I'm thinking something in a Rudolph Red? *wink* He will look into for me. I can't wait to see what he finds.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cookie Cutter Quest!

I am a lurker of other farming type blogs. I found one entitled Country Pleasures that is hosting a cookie cutter exchange for the holidays. So, you guessed it, I signed up. I thought this sounded like fun! Yes, I'm a geek! Since then I have been searching for cookie cutters. I am looking for local artisans, second hand shops for the vintage cookie cutter and online, just to see what is out there.
This is what I found. I think I found cookie cutter heaven! *simle*
Ann Clark Ltd. - the Cookie Cutter People from Vermont.
Enjoy the holidays with this awesome find.
To that end, my daughter is looking for a vintage 1930's ish typewriter, that still works. If you know of someone giving one away. Please contact me. Thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Around the farm

I had the back door open this afternoon scrubbing my floors. The rooster kept crowing at me...relentlessly! So I put on my shoes and meandered back to the chicken run and let them out. Oh were they happy.

They went looking for bugs.

Hey...look over here.

Dirt piles aren't just for kids. Our chickens like them too! They took in a good dusting today. Just like me at the beach.

Happy Dusting.

Oh Yeah... Bring on the Mai Tais and Margarita's.

Ursula, however, is very busy and can't be bother with such lay abouts.

I am Ursula and I run this farm.

Mmmmmmmmmmm....I love when Mom gives us hay!

I can just lay here, and munch all day.

Munch, Munch, Munch

Today at the Craft Show

I simply love visiting our local Craft Shows. Our middle school PTA hosts one every fall before the Christmas Season.
Here are my finds:
A Santa ornament, cookie cutter ornament and this neat tree made on a cinnamon stick.

Some gloves for when I need to chaperone the band! Go Falcons!

And some yummy peppers. The lady selling these won a blue ribbon at the Canfield Fair. That's good enough for me!

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Pictures

Frost on the shrubs

My brother's horse...Sammy.

The Chickens.

Way Cool!

Ever hear of the phrase...frost on the pumpkin? Well, this morning there was frost on the pumpkins and everything else. The chain on the chicken gate was frozen. I thought, you know those farm gloves I bought would be great right now...I wonder where they are? The water was frozen in the buckets and the ground crunched beneath my boots. I was COLD. I'm so not ready for this at God:30 am!

Ok, the hay WAS covered by the tarp. However Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom decided to create a massive wind gust. I found the hay like this...this morning. Another mess to clean up! It never ends.

No more grapes this year. I thought this looked neat.

Frost on the Dill.

Frost on the Purple Cone flower pods. I can't spell echinechea (sp?)! And neither can spell check! LOL!

This is what God:30 am looks like and frost on the grill. Love the swirlies.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chickens are just sooo....

I love my girls and my beautiful Light Brahma Boy. Our rooster is the kind that has feathers on his feet. If it weren't so muddy you could probably see them. However it is very overcast today and difficult to see much of anything. I keep throwing down straw for them so they don't get so muddy. This also helps to keep the eggs mud free too!
Our beautiful Farm Fresh eggs.

Ursula... you are NOT an Alpaca!

Rooster on Patrol.

My day off.

I get to rake some leaves...

But there are sooo many more to do.....

Rikki is a good guard dog.

Cookie is my little pudgy buddy. I need to take you for a walk.

OK Girls.... your turn!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Girls in the pumpkin patch!

Allison and Emily were carving pumpkins today. I let out the chickens because I was cleaning the coop. It looks like the hens found all the pumpkin guts! Now Al and Em won't have to clean up! *smile*

Our Fiber Arrives!

Our fiber arrived from the mill today. We gave it to them at the Wooster Fiber Show at the end of May. We just received it and Allison is sooooo excited. She can't wait to spin.