Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musing - Welcoming Ruby

 
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A new resident has come to live with us, her name is Ruby Tuesday. She came to us on a Tuesday, and she has a red face, therefore the name. It seemed to be suitable for her. 

Ruby is a social gal. She likes the company of cats, chickens and the two of us. She has learned that we are the keepers of the special goat treats, and these treats will be given to her. The treats are in my left pocket; Ruby has seen this and watches my hand. The moment my hand goes into that pocket, Ruby jumps up a bit. She is excited and does not understand why she can’t have a steady diet of treats.

Ruby has been here for a couple of weeks. She was not tame, but she was accustomed to men. I knew that I would need to work closely with her. She accepted the cats immediately and they sleep in her house with her at night. Little Peep stares at Ruby, until something catches her attention. Ruby likes Little Peep. Accepting me was a different story, it took a few days.

We are watching her personality blossom, and learning her likes and dislikes. She is a coy gal and plays games with us. She approaches us, and turns away quickly. Then she bats those lovely eyelashes and approaches my left pocket. This behavior must be an indicator that there will be many adventures with Ruby Tuesday. This silly goat is always able to locate a stick and place it in her water bucket. Daily, I remove many sticks from her water. She has learned the times we feed, and is the first to let us know that she is ready and waiting. Life with her will be interesting. I hope that there will be no great goat escapes to write about. The last attempt by Clover is indelibly etched in my memory and I no longer have that set of pajamas. That is all that I will say about that.

Life with Ruby will have its share of lessons for all of us. She is amazing and has a huge personality, which was evident immediately. She is sharing her secrets with us, and we are learning about her daily. The question in my mind is this. If we were to get a buck, should we name him Mick or Ringo?

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Country Vegetables

The weather has begun to warm here. Gardens have been put in and soon fresh vegetables will appear in kitchens. Until then, we have what is in the freezer.
 
The plate below shows our favorites. Purple hull peas with Aunt Lucy's squash relish, watermelon rind pickles, field corn, squash and cornbread. The peas, corn and squash are from my freezer. The cornbread is made from scratch, and I canned the watermelon pickles and squash relish.
 
 
Squash is a favorite at my home and this is how I prepare it. Your cardiologist may not approve.
 
Cook 3 or 4 pieces of bacon and drain off as much grease as possible. Add some olive oil, a couple of tablespoons should do it. You want the bacon flavor in the squash for seasoning, but not the fat. Those little brown bits have loads of flavor.
 
 
Add about 1/2 of a chopped onion to the pan and cook until the onion is almost translucent.
 
 
Thaw out 1 pint of crook neck squash and add to pan, including the juices. Turn the heat down and cook for about 25 minutes. The squash will be done when most of the water is gone and it begins to brown lightly on the bottom. Stir frequently toward the end to keep it from burning. This will burn quickly, so do not walk away from this.
 
 
Squash is part of most meals here in May and June. Fresh is of course best, but properly home preserved is perfectly acceptable.
 

 
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Now for the the best part, enjoy!!! This is the way we grew up eating. Simple, home preserved foods that were prepared with love. No matter what foods we may like, we seem to always want simple foods such as this.

Joining

Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday

Miz Helen's Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday

Deborah Jean's Dandelion House, My Simple Country Living, White Wolf Summit and Hibiscus House for Farmgirl Friday

Monday, April 22, 2013

Change

 
Change is a part of our lives. Change will happen regardless of who we are or where we are. We often resist, unsuccessfully, those changes. Sometimes change is good, sometimes bad and often just a part of living.
Last evening, coming home from Mama’s house, I looked toward the place that we lived when I was a small child. The house is gone now, but in my memory the house is there. My memory sees the screen door in the kitchen; on the other side, I see the shadowy figure of my Daddy standing there gazing at the nighttime sky. My small hand reaches out to push the screen door open and I creep towards him. I slip my hand into his, he looks down and the light from the kitchen window casts a soft glow, providing enough light to see the smile that spreads across his face. I hear the low soft chuckle that comes from his chest. We stand in the darkness gazing at the night sky. Gently, my hand reaches up and tugs Daddy’s shirt. He leans down and picks me up. I lean close to him and inhale his scent. Everything in my child world is right at that moment. We watch the sky and occasionally get to see a shooting star if we are lucky!
The nighttime sky looks like a piece of black velvet with twinkling diamonds of various sizes scattered about. It is the sky that we are no longer able to see because of the numerous lights from businesses, homes, the interstate and the modern world we live in. It is a sight that my daughter has never seen, and may never see. This breathtaking sight now exists only in the memory of those of us that remember this sky. Change crept into our area, welcome or not, and changed our nighttime sky.
We can rely on change, it will always occur. Some changes are good, and needed. Some changes are bad, and represent things that we wish had not happened. Children grow up, houses decay and time marches on. Change is all around us, occurring regularly and without our consent. The ability to remember exists in us and yet change occurs there also. Change will happen; we must decide how we will respond to those changes. My choice is to cherish the sweet, learn from the bad and cope with the rest.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Gran's Iris

My Gran had a few flowers in her flower beds. She was not physically able to work in them, but she loved flowers. My mother gave her these Iris, they are from her flower beds. I dug a few up before the house was sold and planted them. This is the first bloom of the year!
 
 
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Adelaide wanted to be a part of this picture. She must be happy to see warmer days and flowers too! When I noticed this flower, I did not have my camera, and used the camera on my phone. I played with the effects in Picasa because I was not pleased with the quality of the picture. Adelaide didn't mind, she is enjoying a lovely spring morning!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Musing - A Real Life Fairytale

 
Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, and in a nearby place, lived 2 children. The little girl lived in the land of cotton and the little boy lived in a small town. These children went to the same school.
The little boy was a cute little fellow and enjoyed doing the things that little boys do. Pulling pigtails and teasing girls was a part of his favorite things. Despite the fact that he enjoyed teasing a certain little girl, he remained protective of this little girl.
The little girl became indignant when teased, and returned the teasing. This little girl might get angry with the little boy, but she didn’t want anyone else getting mad with him. In spite of the fact that these two sometimes disagreed, they stuck beside each other.
The mother told the little girl that she needed to be nicer to the boys because one day she was going to actually like boys. The little girl became angry and declared that would never happen. She stated that all boys were icky, gross, yucky and as all little girls know, boys are infested those awful invisible cooties.
The teasing continued, and one day the little girl’s mother laughed and said that these two would probably grow up and get married. The little girl was furious at the thought. Time marched on and the children grew older. When they were teens, if one liked the other, then the other was not interested.
The day finally came when both were free, and the now grown up boy asked the now grown up girl out on a date. The girl told her mother, who chuckled and advised her daughter to go out one time and see if there is anything there. She did, and one date led to another and then another. The pair quickly became inseparable.
One day the girl called her mother and said that she was coming by her house. Standing in the front hall of her mother’s home, the little girl lifted her left hand for the mother to see her finger. It took a few moments for reality to sink in. The now grown boy had proposed and the grown girl had accepted! The day the mother had jokingly predicted was going to become a reality. The planning has begun, this fairy tale is becoming a reality.


Monday, April 8, 2013

What Does Atticus Read?

Atticus reads Adventures In Country Living of course! I am the only person that writes about him and he wants to read about himself!
 
 
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Atticus knew that he had star quality and now he has proof! He is famous. Just ask his vet. He will tell you that Atticus is famous and never fails to ask about this mischievous feline.
Atticus likes reading about himself, or maybe it is enough to just look at the pictures.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Meet Ruby Tuesday

This is Ruby Tuesday. She came to us last Tuesday.
 
 
Ruby is getting to know us and the animals here.
 
 
Ruby has her own unique personality.
 
 
Like the song, she needs to be free. 
 
 
Ruby has a friend in Little Peep.
 
 
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The question now is this. Should the next buck be Mick or Keith?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream Icing

 
My cookbook collection contains some regional favorites. One of those favorites is a tattered and cover less book that came from an estate sale.
 
 
When I saw this book, I knew that it had to be a good one. The pages were stained and some were missing, the cover must have been gone for some time. The spine of the book is broken, and part of it is missing. What delectable secrets did this book hold?
 
 
This loved and well used book was published in the 1960’s. Looking through the pages of this treasure, it is easy to see the pages most used.  The history of this book must be a yummy one!
 
 
Cakes made from scratch are in this book. The recipe for a chocolate cake with caramel icing caught my eye. The cake called for coffee, this was an indicator that I would probably like this one! The caramel icing recipe sounded a little more complicated.
 
 
There is another recipe in my collection that gives great results. Why not use that icing recipe instead. Cooking should be fun, with tasty results, so I would use the devil’s food cake recipe and my favorite caramel icing recipe. The result got a two thumbs up at my house.
 
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Chocolate Cake
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 ½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup strong coffee
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the butter milk and sifted flour and salt to the creamed mixture.
Dissolve the cocoa in the cooled coffee, add the soda and beat until foamy. Add the coffee mixture to the creamed mixture and blend well. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour into 3 eight inch cake pans that have been greased and floured and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until cake tests done. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 5 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.
 
Caramel Buttercream Icing
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup cream
½ cup softened butter
4 – 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
Milk for thinning icing
 
Melt the sugar in a heavy pan over a medium high heat. The sugar will completely melt, be careful, this is extremely hot!!! Allow the sugar to begin to change to an amber color. Stay right there with it the entire time, this mixture will burn quickly. Remove the pan from heat. Immediately pour the cream in slowly. The mixture will bubble, keep stirring until completely smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Cream the butter, adding the sugar in small batches of about ½ cup. Add the salt. Drizzle the cooled caramel into the butter mixture slowly. Adjust the texture of this icing to your taste. If needed add milk to make the icing spreadable. More confectioners’ sugar may be added if needed. Frost the cooled cake.
 
Joining the following parties
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursday
Stone Gable Cottage for Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits
Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson for Share Your Cup Thursday
A Delightsome Life for Home and Garden Thursday


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crimson's Short Story

Depending on your point of view, this may not be a happy story. It is not a sad story from my point of view, bitter and sweet perhaps. It was a privilege to be the one that was with her for the end of her story. Her story ended with her knowing that she had been loved and cared for. You may feel differently. If you do, then please visit us later, we are always glad to have you! My job is to care for the animals, and sometimes that means letting go.
 
4 years ago, we began our adventure with goats. The plan was to start out with 2 girls. Their names would be Crimson and Clover. The first girl was named Clover. I had plans for soap and cheese too. Clover had her own ideas and plans.
 
Life has a way of getting between what you want to do, and what must be done. Time rocked on and Clover remained the only goat and grew old enough to begin her own family. Clover had other ideas, she wanted a baby, but did not want to bother with a goathusband. The last attempt ended up with the Bill E. Goat standing behind me shaking uncontrollably. His ego never quite recovered after that. The name Clover could not be mentioned around him.
 
Sadly we lost Clover last year. She must have had a heat stroke, we couldn't get her cooled down, when we found her it was already to late. Admittedly, I still miss Clover, she was one of a kind, cantankerous, amazing, ridiculous, loving, silly and much more.
 
Yesterday, Bruce called and said he had a "situation", I knew what that meant and told him to bring her on. This is Crimson.
 
 
 
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Crimson was born yesterday, her mother rejected her. Bruce found her lying in the pasture. He brought her to me and told me that she may not make it, but it would be better than lying alone in the pasture. I worked with her for a few hours, keeping her warm, trying to get some colostrum in her and rubbing her. It became evident that her time here would be short, so I kept her warm and as comfortable as I could. She rested quietly and peacefully, and then slipped away.

My mind imagines that she has met Clover, and now Clover has the baby she wanted without the bother of a goatman. We did get our Crimson and Clover, and now they are together. Honestly, if I had known how this story would end, I would have done it anyway. Saving them is not always my job, sometimes it is my job to love and care for them and then let them go.

Bruce also brought me a nanny yesterday. She does not have a name yet, and will need time to adjust to us. Last night, I heard her low, soft sounds before I went to bed. It was a good thing to hear. We will tell our story here, and hope that you will enjoy reading about it!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Musing - Springtime Gifts

Several years ago we decided to try our hand at raising rabbits. We bought 2 and were assured that both were females. They were named Daisy and Dandelion. Then one morning, I discovered a bundle of fluff in their pen. It was obvious that we did not have 2 females. Daisy was a female; however Dandelion became Dan D. Lion.
 
Cute bunnies are a part of what we consider Easter, as are Easter baskets, egg hunts, family dinners and new outfits. Most of us will smile when we see the children wearing their cute new clothes and having fun hunting eggs, or talking about the Easter bunny. Those are sweet sights. Springtime is a time of renewal. The ground wakes up from the seemingly endless winter, and brings the hopes and promises of new life. Chicks are in some stores now and garden centers are offering plants and seeds too. Grocery stores are offering sales on all of the goods needed for us to provide the perfect Easter feast. There will be lots of candy today. We all have a favorite, and it is on sale now.
 
Those commercial promises are everywhere it seems. What about the sweetest treat of all? This undeserved treat was freely given to us and no amount of money can purchase this gift. There is no commercial gift that can begin to compare, or satisfy our hearts like the true meaning of Easter will. This precious gift is available to anyone that chooses to accept it, and the promises of the Easter gift are greater than any promise offered by springtime. This is the treat that lasts forever.
 
Realizing that this day will offer its share of difficulties for me, I choose to remember the real reason that this day is observed. My Daddy will be on my mind today. He will have a different kind of Easter today. I can only imagine what it will be like. Hope remains with us, and Easter reminds us of the Greatest Gift given to us, a Savior.
 
Springtime promises have arrived again. There will be no baby bunnies here, Daisy is retired, and enjoys a life free from the duties of motherhood. Daisy reminds me that winter does not last, spring will surely follow. It will bring hopes for new life and a bountiful harvest. My heart will lean heavily on the promises of the Easter Gift today.