Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving and a Restoration

There are a thousand tutorials on how to restore old cast iron
so I won't bore you with the how-to's of it.
But. . . 
I did want to share.
You might already be aware that 90% of my cooking arsenal
Love them both!
For the longest time, I had what I called "a stew pot," of cast iron,
but I really wanted a true Dutch oven.
I wasn't really impressed with the poor quality or the high price
 of the new ones available in stores.
My mother-in-law is just awesome.
She likes to go to yard sales etc.
so I let her know a couple years ago that I would like one.
Not long ago, she sent me the following picture

with a message that read "$25 ???"
I said "YES!"
Brought it home, hubby took the wire wheel to it,
then I scrubbed and seasoned it.
And the results~

Oh but there is more :-)
It wasn't evident in it's rusted state,
but after cleaning it up,
we saw that it had one of our family names
 that is not entirely common
engraved on both the lid handle and bottom of the pot.
That makes it even more special.
MIL is going to go back over and ask about where they got it
as she kinda knows who the folks are who had the yard sale.
Until she finds out for certain,
we will be left to wonder.
I've not had a chance to use it yet,
but oh I will.
I am just thrilled to have it at hand.

Also, I wanted to wish each of you a very
happy Thanksgiving.
I hope you find the day enjoyable and are able
to give thanks for the many blessings received.
We are taught that we should be thankful not only for our easy times
but for our trials as well.
I know first hand how difficult that can be.
But, if that Dutch oven could feel & speak,
I have a feeling it would have known even in the rusted state
 what it was made of
regardless of what was present on the outside.
Because life isn't pretty at the moment,
doesn't mean it won't be beautiful 
in what is yet to come.
And yes, I see cast iron as a thing of beauty­čśŐ
If life is trying for you right now,
I would like to wish you even a greater blessing
in that there is beauty yet to come.
Happy Thanksgiving dear friends.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Quiet In Betweens

There are quite a few folks out there
who don't like the days growing shorter or
being on Standard time.
I'm not one of those folks :-)

I love this time of year.  
I love being on Standard Time.
In the "war" against time change,
the only two options proposed were
Daylight Savings Time or continue switching back and forth.
Heeey! Hold on just a minute there.
What about the real time?
(Squawky - see below)
I would be curious to know how many of you are morning people???
Mr. LB and I wake up between 4:30-5 o:clock.
(My mom says that's an afternoon time.)
Yep, even on weekends.
We just do.
I do set an alarm clock weekdays, just in case.
But generally speaking, we are awake before it goes off.
Hubby requires far less sleep than I do (about 6 hrs.)
I like my 8 hours.
But we are morning folks.
We drink our coffee and are often off and running before the sun
raises its head from its mountainous pillow.
By evening, we are ready for supper and relaxation.
We are not entertainment oriented.
I'm not sure what to call us (that's a loaded statement, I know!)
But we are work oriented
or doing oriented
or living oriented.
We are not watching oriented.
I once wrote a piece that was called "The Watchers."
There are folks who seem to just watch life go by.
I think many children are being raised to be watchers
by parents who are watchers.
It seems they have to be entertained.
I'm not saying this to blame anybody.
I'm not even sure when it happened.
It's just sad when folks don't get to feel
the feeling of accomplishment or
the feeling of helping or
the feeling of giving or
providing, or growing, or 
well. . . . living.
Working with and raising critters of any sort is a lot of work.
There's usually physical as well as mental work involved.
They require feeding, tending, occasionally moving, etc.
And yes, it is work.
It's a commitment with a real consequence.
If you don't feed them, they will die.
That's pretty real.
But the rewards~
When that baby critter takes its first wobbly steps,
or you get to run the barrels in great time,
or you serve a home-raised meal.
What sort of price do you put on that?
Many folks see only the output of labor and discount the rewards.
Critters are just one example.
There are hundreds more.
I happen to love haying. 
Sounds crazy, I know.
Being out in the blazing heat to cut it,
then waking up at o:dark:thirty to rake and bale it
doesn't really sound like a barrel of monkeys kind of fun.
But. . . 
the smell of alfalfa in the morning dew,
and seeing the deer at the edge of the field
and hearing the quail begin to stir 
as the sun is just beginning to light the sky,
I think that is a treat in itself that you can't buy in a store.
Then there is the reward of having a healthy source of nutrition
for the critters come winter.
On winter days, when you are breaking off flakes to feed,
that sweet scent of summer lingers in the frosty air
and it's all worth it.
Who needs more entertainment than that?
We are old fashioned, what can I say.
During the longer evenings, we are finally able to find time for
that book that's been staring at us, or that stitching project,
or the research required to figure out a new endeavor.
These long evenings are a welcomed joy.

From what I hear, it might be the last winter
we have Standard time.

I will tell you one thing,
for the next 3-4 months,
I am going to revel in the morning light
and long evenings.
How 'bout you?

We call him Squawky and have watched him since spring.  
In early summer, he would walk out front and squawk and beat his wings
looking for hens.
Now we say he is serenading Hucklebunny.
We have been greatly entertained by him.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Squirrelling :-)

It's autumn.
Isn't it lovely?

One of my favorite things about autumn is the smell.
I know, that sounds a little weird,
but the crispness in the air brings about a scent that notes the season.
The other thing that begins to happen is the oven can be used again.
During summer months, we do more barbequing or simple meals 
that don't require a lot of cooking time. 
Now we can bring out the crockpot or
put a roast in the oven.
We tend to start nesting
or as I like to call it "Squirrelling."
I am hesitant to even use that word as folks go straight in their mind to women.
But men nest too, it just looks different.
Women tend to bring the throws out of storage and clean and arrange certain areas of the home for the upcoming season.
While men tend to sharpen blades, store certain things until next spring and
prepare for upcoming weather and tasks.
So you see it's the same really. . . . but different.
And there are scents that go along with those activities.
Woodsmoke, pot roast, a favorite candle~
And even better - spices.
I love spiced cookies.
I finally made a batch of speculaas which I hadn't made in about 7 years.
They are so good, I could eat the whole batch.
Woe is me!
I put most of them in the freezer to keep them out of easy reach.
Another favorite is spiced apple anything.
It's apple season.
Hubby likes when I slice them, sprinkle them with cinnamon and dehydrate them.
My mother-in-law tried them a while back.
I gave her a jar.
She later informed me she ate the whole jar before she got home.
I told her she should stay close to home for a day ;-)

There is a recipe I have that is actually scribed into the bottom of an apple shaped dish.
I usually do make it with apples, but have also made it with other fruits.
One more thing about autumn is we tend to begin gathering.
Critters do this as well this time of year.
I always find it interesting when people follow suit with nature unknowingly.
If you have a gathering to host or attend,
this recipe has served me well.
I hope you enjoy it also.

Oh yea, if you would like some spiced cider to go with it,
you can find my recipe for that here.

Apple Torte~

Before you get too far, let me share.  
I don't actually mix the apples in with the dough.
They don't really"mix" well.
The dough is a little dry-ish but never fear, 
the juice from the apples moistens it.
I just put down a layer of apples then some dough crumbles, 
then apples then dough, etc. 

One other warning~
I measure generously when I am making the dough,
because I'm pretty sure it is physically impossible not to snitch a bite of the dough :-)

That is some cinnamon apple goodness right there.
Serve with Homemade Vanilla Icecream and enjoy!

Happy Fall~