Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paint Prep

While we won't be able to redo our bathroom and kitchen before Christmas,we did want to at least spruce up our dining area.The goal is to make the dining area and kitchen one color,since they are one big room separated by a brick chimney and white beams on which make up a entrance way. Right now the kitchen is floor to ceiling white bead board,and I don't like white or floor to ceiling bead board.(It's not the style in the below photo,it's prefab,narrow board) It's all coming down and being replaced by sheet rock.Here is a photo of the dining area,the kitchen is behind me:
You can see our lovely pile of painting supplies,as well as what we had to take off of the mirror mantel.The mirror mantel was where the white cabinet is now. Yes,it is THE cabinet that I fell in love with and gaze at lovingly each day.I was using the brown chair to tape off the the walls.
There are two star candle holders on this wall,but one fell off as I was taping.If you look closely on the left side of the photo next to the door frame you can see a painted swatch of the new color that we are going use. It's called Charismatic by Behr,and it is one of those primer and paint combos. The photo doesn't really do either color justice. The yellow we have now has been our wall color for seven years,and it is a brighter yellow than it looks here. I picked it because this room is on the northwestern side of the house,so it doesn't get a lot of light,and there is only one window in this area. When our bedroom door is open it does lighten things a bit,since those windows face the south and the south west,but not enough.(Our door has my pink garden hat hanging on it).Now,however,I want something a little warmer feeling,and this new color has a nice,buttery tone to it.

This is the mirror mantle. ( I had taken this photo a couple years ago when I was drying lavender-that's what hanging off the candle holders!).The mirror mantle will be moved into the living room.
It's quite past time for paint,anyway. Our wood stove makes things a tad dirty,and it has been a couple of years since we painted. I will take some after photos when it's done. We are starting the painting tomorrow. I will be glad when I can put all my canning supplies into my new cabinet!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Doris' Apple Stuffing

One of the staples of Thanksgiving growing up was my Mom's apple stuffing. I don't know where she got the recipe-I never thought to ask,believe it or not. It is a tradition I follow,like making touques (pronounced "took-kays"...which in English is Pork Pie) on Christmas Eve.( I probably spelled touque wrong,since I am not very proficient at French)

This year like I previously posted, I decided to make it with gluten free bread so my hubby could enjoy it. It still tasted the same,so going forward it will be made gluten free.

Here is the recipe...I don't think my Mom would mind my sharing it. It's delicious.( I think Almanzo Wilder would have loved it,considering his affection for apples and onions)

Doris' Apple Stuffing

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cups diced tart apples ( I used Granny Smith)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups small bread cubes*

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions,celery and apples. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Cook until soft,then add the bread cubes and mix. Heat through.

* You can use bread stuffing. I used gluten free bread from a mix,and toasted enough slices to make 4 cups. I added no other spices and it came out great! I made it early in the day,and just microwaved it to heat it back up when it was dinner time.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Kick Back Day

Yesterday was what we call around here a kick back day.Our little cottage was nice and cozy from the wood stove, the usual daily chores were done,and I started some laundry. Zach's bedspread needed to be washed because our big old moose of a dog,Samson,got sick on it,and I did have two other loads that needed washing. While I was waiting for the the bedspread to wash,I sat down and did some knitting.I am in process of teaching myself circular knitting,and right now I am working on a mitten.

Poor Zach was not feeling well yesterday.He said his head felt funny,and he was a bit warm and pale. We could tell he wasn't up to par,because he was very quiet. I told him to take some Aleeve and take a nap,to which he replied he was planning on napping. A bit later,I got his bedspread out of the dryer,and when I brought it up to his room,he was all curled up under the covers,sound asleep. I gently put the cover on him,and it reminded me of when he was a baby.He would kick the covers off and I would cover him back up,very gently,so as to not wake him up. I miss those times. He wound up sleeping all afternoon,and woke up around 7:00 PM,feeling fine.

Basically all I did was knit all day,fold and put away the laundry. I was surprised that I spent about 6 hours knitting.It didn't seem like it. It was neat to see how the thumb was starting to form in the mitten,and I kept wanting to do more to see how it would come out. Bear in mind,my stitches are off,but I am going forward with it. I like to do the whole project (I have only done small ones,anyway.If it was a sweater or something of the like I wouldn't keep going with mistakes)so I can get the practice of doing the whole thing. The second mitten should come out much better. After that I am moving to socks.

Rick did go out hunting for a while yesterday,but got nothing. He is starting to get very frustrated.This is the first year in a few that he has been able to actually go out and walk distance,and he is only seeing signs of deer with an occasional glimpse,but no shot. All this walking has been great for his knees,though they do get sore.The Dr told him to take Aleeve before he goes out. He is still only 1/3 healed.The whole process takes up to 18 months. He is still doing incredibly well for having both knees replaced almost 6 months ago.

Today I am going to make some more soap,I think. And I should take stock of what we need for Christmas decorations. And that knitting is calling to me again......

Friday, November 26, 2010

Whoops! Deleted Photo

In my last post I meant to post a picture of the table set for Thanksgiving dinner. I posted it,and somehow it got accidentally deleted.

You can't really see it too well, but around the vase of flowers I put the extra springs of rosemary and German thyme. It looked nice.

The Day After

Today is what is known in the retail world as "Black Friday,"when the masses descend on stores,fighting the crowds,to get those day after Thanksgiving deals. When I was in retail, I worked on Black Friday,opening the doors at 5:30 AM,and each year I was always shocked at how many people actually got up to get the stores that early. Not my thing. Now that I no longer work,it is not something I miss. In fact, I have never shopped on Black Friday. I don't like fighting crowds,and saving $10.00 on a gift is not worth the hassle for me. We start shopping in Sept,during the weekdays,and on line ( I love Amazon.com) Aside from a one or two little things,all our shopping is done. For those you who love the pushing,shoving,and waiting in line,go for it. I am quite content to stay in my little cottage,thank you very much!

Today is especially is a good day to stay home. We woke up to this:

You can't see it, but there are icicles hanging off the wheel well,and all along the bottom of the car.We have them hanging off the eaves of the house as well,but they are little ones. We had some freezing rain overnight and early this AM,making the roads slippery. There have been several small accidents and one big one on I-89 going towards Vermont.

My birthday was lovely. Aside from the cards I received in the morning, that night I received a Sgt Pepper CD from Zach,a flash drive from Brother B,and one of those pictures frames you can down load photos to,creating a slide show from Rick. I wasn't expecting anything,since I did receive My Precious and the cabinet. I also got a lovely cake:
Brother B said that Rick went through several cakes trying to find the right one. He would have made one himself,but they were quite busy harvesting turkeys. The candle was in the shape of a question mark in case I didn't want to admit my age,which I thought was cute.
Our Thanksgiving menu consisted of fresh turkey with Herb Butter rub (4 tablespoons butter,3 tablespoons each fresh rosemary and thyme-fresh from my herb garden-,and 2 cloves fresh garlic from my neighbors garden),apple and onion stuffing with gluten free bread crumbs ( I made the bread,toasted the slices,and cut them into cubes),cranberry sauce,pickles,olives,potatoes,sweet potatoes (with homemade brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon),peas,rolls, gravy,and homemade pumpkin pie (Sugar pumpkin from the garden)with gluten free pie crust. Dinner preparation was a mutual affair:Rick made the potatoes,sweet potatoes,and got the peas ready so I could sit and visit with my Mom,and before she came I had the turkey in the oven,stuffing made,pie baked, got the cranberry sauce and pickles chilling,and the table set.
Here is a photo of the dishes I was talking about:

My Mom said she was about 12 when the got the set,which makes sense,since the set was made in 1936-37,and she turned 12 in December of 1937.Like I mentioned earlier,it is called Green Wheat by Taylor and Smith. The pattern was discontinued 1939. I was interested in trying to find out about this line,so a couple years ago I went on line to try and find some information about it. At that point,I had the company name on the back of each dish,and the item numbers as well. I found it on a couple of websites- Replacements.com and Ohioriverpottery.com.My Memere had bought the set of 12,which came with 95 pieces,for $18.95. In 2008 to replace the dinner plates alone,it would cost $11.99 per plate-bringing the cost of just the 12 plates to $143.88. Can you imagine? However,it's not the cost of the set that I treasure-it's the memories and the history of them. These plates were used by my Memere and Pepere Charrette on holidays from the time my Mom was 12, which meant my Great -Grandparents,Grandparents,Mom,aunts,uncles,great aunts and great uncles,cousins and father all ate on them.The women cooked,and the men washed the dishes (my Pepere and father broke a few of the coffee cups while wiping because their fingers were big for the handles!) Then they were handed down to my Mom,and my siblings and their families ate on them.Now my family is enjoying them.So 5 generations have enjoyed meals on these simple,yet pretty plates. Since they were only used on holidays,it added a special air to the event to see the setting on the table. It brings back great memories.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today here in the States it is Thanksgiving Day. We continue the celebration started by our Pilgrim forefathers. Life had been very hard for them,and,with the help of the Wampanog natives,they finally had a good harvest,of which they were very thankful. They celebrated their good fortune with their Wampanog friends by feasting and playing games.

Throughout the history of the US,Thanksgiving has been celebrated at different times until President Lincoln proclaimed it at national holiday. We now celebrate it on the third Thursday of November.

It is a wonderful day to stop and count our blessings. Nowadays,when it seems like there is so much negativity going on in the country and around the world,it's good to realize that yes, in fact, each of us has good in our lives that we should embrace and not take for granted. We shouldn't,however,only remember this one day a year. We should wake up each morning and remember what is good,positive, and important in our lives.

I am thankful for many things,and I remind myself many times a week of what I have.I have a wonderful husband,who survived a war,and who loves me with all his heart. I have a great son,who is smart,funny,and loving. I still have my Mom,who,at nearly 85,has more energy than I do,and who handed down her Yankee traits. I have wonderful memories of my Dad, who had a great sense of humor which he passed on to me. I have older brothers and a sister,who,though they all moved out when I was young,I enjoy learning more about with each visit and see some of myself in each of them. I have brothers and sisters in law who I love very much.Rick's brothers have embraced me like a sister,and I especially appreciate Brother Brian for being here for us when Rick was gone,and now,while he is still struggling with his TBI and PTSD. I am very grateful for my friends,those I have known for many years,and those that I have recently come to know and love,especially My Dear Friend Michelle. I am thankful for my warm home,food on my plate and clothes on my back. I can look out my window and see beauty every day. I am thankful for those who served so that I can live in such wonderful country,especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and those who will live with War for the rest of their lives so that we can be free. For all this,and so much more, I am very thankful.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holy Wind,Batman!!

Today is my birthday,and it is coming in like a lion. The wind gusts are quite strong,and the weatherman said their may be some power outages. As long as I can make my pies later,that's OK. At least the sun is shining today,which is a nice change of pace from the last few days of raw,chilly,off and on rain.

I have already received My Precious (Cuisinart stand mixer,with meat grinder and food processor attachments),which was an early birthday present. Zach and Rick both gave me great cards as soon as my eyes were open this AM,with big hugs and kisses.

Yesterday I made two loaves of gluten free bread,and four cups of this bread will be made into gluten free apples and onion stuffing.Poor Rick has forgone stuffing the last few years,so I figured I would make one he could actually eat (he has always told me not to bother).I also pre-made my pumpkin pie filling. We are also going to have gluten free pumpkin pie,with gluten free pie crust. Today is pie making day,and I will make my stuffing tomorrow morning.

Later this AM will be meeting My Dear Friend Michelle and her boys at Pizza Hut.Her son Ethan has a birthday on Friday,so she decided to have a little celebration early. After Pizza Hut we are going to Hilltop Fun Center,which has many video games,and laser tag.In the summer,it also has batting cages,go carts,and miniature golf. That will be fun.

My Mom is coming over for Thanksgiving tomorrow. We started that a few years ago. My sister and her hubby go to his Mom's in upstate NY for Thanksgiving,and we had always gone down to my Mom's. Then I said she had done enough Thanksgivings and it was my turn. So she comes up and doesn't have to do any work. I enjoy cooking the Thanksgiving meal. The boys will go out hunting the AM (a Thanksgiving tradition) so I will be able to putter around and tie up loose ends.

I am very lucky to have received our family china (it's not actually china,it's a form of porcelain,but we always called it the china). It was my Memere's (my Mom's Mom)from the 1930's,then it was my Mom's,now it is mine. I was able to clear out a whole corner cabinet for it. I will take a photo of the table setting tomorrow so you can see it. It's called "Green Wheat" by Taylor Smith.

I am off to begin my day........enjoy yours!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

An Early Birthday Treat

Last Thursday My Dear Friend Michelle took me out for my birthday,which is this Wednesday. We first went out for brunch in Dover at the Silver Moon,which specializes in crepes. (A crepe is a thin pancake that one can put a variety of goodies on,to make it savory or sweet,and it is then folded). She had seen this establishment on Channel Nine on Chronicle,and figured I would be all for trying it out. It's a cute,cozy little place next to the Strand theater. There was a variety of crepes to choose from,from Nutella to turkey and Swiss. I got the pumpkin spice,and she got the red onion,spinach,and feta cheese. We sat next to the window and enjoyed our coffee (me) and tea (her). Michelle thought to split our crepes,which I thought was a fine idea. When the crepes were brought to us,we cut each one down the middle and transferred them to the opposite plate. I started with hers,and it was delicious. Mine had a nice, light spicy taste,and the dab of whipped cream was just the right touch. It was a nice dessert. They were filling,but not heavy. Since we had time before our pedicures,we went to a shop called Just The Thing on Central Ave. I love this shop. It has a variety of antiques and collectibles. I had actually been thinking of visiting this place because I have been wanting a cabinet to store my canning supplies. People have been kind enough to give me jars,but before I knew it I had jars and no place to put them all. In my mind I envisioned an old cupboard,with one big wooden door. We wandered around the store,commenting on things we liked,when I saw the cabinet. It was two piece,white and distressed.The top cabinet was narrow,with two doors,with plastic inserts that had circles as embellishment. The doors opened to reveal four shelves. This section comes off the bottom cabinet,which had two side by side wooden doors,with two shelves inside. Very very cute ( and of course, I haven't taken a picture of it yet,but I will). Something about it spoke to me,but I needed a truck and we were in Michelle's Prius (though she joked that we could make it fit,LOL).Plus, I wanted Rick to see it first. I kept looking at it,and Michelle commented how cute it would look in my house. Yes, it would.

We left the store empty handed and then went to Raspberries in Rochester for our pedicure. I have never had a pedicure before,so this was a great treat for me. The chairs were massage chairs,and while we enjoyed coffee our feet were soaked,scrubbed with some type of salt concoction,had a variety of lotions put on them,massaged,wrapped,and toes administered to. I had pretty red polish put on them. It was lovely. I thanked My Dear Friend several times. It was such a nice day and nice to spend it with her.

When I got home, I told Rick all about the day and about the cabinet. Since we had to go out and buy Zach a new backpack,he suggested we go down to Dover and check out the cabinet.He liked it just as much as I did,and thought it had a lot of character. We bought it,loaded it into the truck,went to buy Zach his backpack,and headed home.

It was a great day. I spent nice time with my friend,had a great brunch,some pampering,and found the cabinet I had been looking for! A fabulous day all around!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Organizing Life

Last month,I took the bull by the horns and decided to streamline the information in my life.

A year ago,I made a "Life Book",in which I had notes,and information about gardening,places we wanted to go,farm animals,etc.I also had a binder from a year before that with phone numbers,menus,and school info. I also had an address book. So I had three different areas for information,in three different places. I decided to put it all in one place,so I bought a 3"binder,tab dividers,and plastic sheet protectors. I also wanted to make it a bit fun and pretty. This is what I came up with:

I have Chapters with Sections.This is how I set it up:

-Phone #'s-emergency,utilities with acct #'s,family and friends,VA,National Guard,army buddies,town of Middleton
-Addresses (includes birthday and anniversary lists)
-Menus from local restaurants
-School info
-Organization -cleaning tips,water filter info,My Routine list

-Misc-seed starting dates,seeds ordered last spring
-Seed Starting-notes from last year,how to start seeds,outdoor planting dates
-Square Foot Gardening-how to's,diagrams of my square foot gardens with planting dates,notes
-Reference-info about various herbs

-Chickens (ordered dates with prices,misc info)
-Possible future animals ( goat info)

-Soapmaking-notes,recipes for hand and laundry soap.I keep records of when I make laundry soap and when I have to purchase materials so I can see how much I save over time
-Maple Syrup Notes
-Misc Projects-knitting info,do it yourself home projects,trapping info

-Information on places we want to go on our cross country trip

-Laura Ingalls Wilder sites we want to visit,Homesteader Newsletters

This is a fluid book,meaning things get taken out and added over time. It's a good size book,but I don't need to go to three different places when I need to look up something or add something to the book.It's all right there,next to the microwave.

My next big project is to reorganize the file cabinet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Feeble Knitting Attempt

I have finished my dishcloth...if one can call it that.

Not the prettiest looking ,is it? There are several mistakes,but I just kept plodding along.It's suppose to be one row knit,one row purl,but I think I purled wrong. Instead of bringing my right needle from right to left, I basically did a knit stitch,bringing the right needle from left to right,but on the top of the left needle instead of the bottom.My book says the right needle is suppose to be brought right to left. Hmmm. It does have a nice ribbed texture,which you can't really see in this photo. I used cotton yarn with size 8 needles. Oh well, it is a dishcloth.

I have tried to find double ended needles to attempt some circular knitting,but neither Michaels nor Ben Franklin's had them,the two places I thought would carry them. I do have a pair of regular circular knitting needles,but the directions I have for mittens call for double ended needles. I will have to look on line for something else.

Yesterday I was woken by Zach who presented me with a bowl of cereal and a cup of OJ. "I would've brought you coffee,Mumma,but I didn't know how to make it,"he explained. How can you not love that? We have such a nice,loving son. Rick and I always comment on how lucky we are,and hopefully as he grows into a teenager that won't go away.

Yesterday I cleaned the bathroom,washed windows,dusted,and actually moved living room furniture to sweep. I also did three loads of laundry. I have found myself more motivated,and I am not sure if it's the antidepressant, the prescription strength Clariton I am on,or both ( probably both). I was done by 1:00 PM,and I thought it was much later than that. Sigh. It always takes me a bit to get used to the time change.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!

Today here in the US it's Veterans Day,when we honor all those who have served or are currently serving in our military.

My family has many veterans in it,some still with us and some who have passed. Rick's family has veterans in it going as far back as the 1600's,when the French and Indian Wars were being fought.My family didn't arrive here in the States until the late 1800's,so our military past is not as long as his family,but we have done our share.

Although I am sure I had some members fight in WW I,no one has ever told me about them,so I have no direct knowledge of it. I know my Grandfather Lessard signed up for the draft,but he was never called up. My Dad was just a young boy,having been born in 1914.

Veterans Day stemmed from WW I. On the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918,a temporary armistice was signed,which was in effect until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919,officially ending WW I,or,as it was called then,The War to End All Wars.No one could imagine another war being fought on that scale and magnitude. (Sad to say that would not last). The first official Armistice Day was signed in 1919 by President Wilson. In 1921,the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was created,and on November 11 of that year,Congress declared it a legal holiday in honor of the Tomb for all who fought in WW I. In 1938,Congress passed legislation making November 11 a legal federal holiday,known as Armistice Day. Up to then,it had been moved around a bit,and the states had control over if they celebrated it or not,which the majority did. Then WW II happened. In 1954,President Eisenhower signed legislation declaring that November 11 would be known as Veterans Day,to honor all Veterans who served.This became a national,Federal holiday that all states observe.

This is a photo of my Dad with some of his gun squad.He is in the very front. He was in the 197th Coastal Anti Aircraft Artillery during WW II,and like I mentioned in a previous post,he was stationed in New Guinea.This photo was taken when he was stationed at Camp Hulen,Texas,training,before they left for Australia.His brother,my Uncle Valmore,was in the Army as well,but he was in Hawaii,where he was killed by a fellow soldier who was cleaning his rifle.The rifle had a round in it,and when my Uncle Valmore walked into the tent,the gun accidentally went off,killing him. He was the first person from our town of Somersworth killed during WW II. The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post in Somersworth is named the Gagnon-Lessard post ( first to die in both World Wars).

My Dad,come to find out,served in the same unit with my mother's Uncle Robert. My mother still wonders to this day how Uncle Robert got into the service,considering he was hard of hearing,but somehow he did.When he had to fire the big anti artillery gun,my Dad would tap him on the shoulder. (My parents didn't meet until after my Dad got back from the war).

My dad's brother,Bobby,served in the Korean War in the Army.My Uncle Bobby was very nice,but suffered from PTSD. From what family has said,he was in a convoy which was attacked,and he saw his friends get blown up. I am sure there is a bit more to the story,but that is all I know. He spent some time in a psych hospital,and struggled with it the rest of his life.

My Dad's sister,Margaret,was either in the WACs or was a WAVE...which one escapes me at the moment.

My oldest brother,Valmore,joined the Army and was sent to the DMZ in Korea during the Vietnam War.My sister's husband,Tom,was in the Air Force and flew tankers,and was stationed in South Vietnam at Ton San Nuht (spelled wrong?) air base. My brother Dennis was in the Sea Bees,and went to either Saudi Arabia or Kuwait as support during Desert Storm.

Then we have my hubby.....

Rick joined the Army National Guard in 1981,and then went into the regular Army,in the 4/325th Airborne Combat Team in Italy.Then,when he got back to the States,he was put in the 82nd Airborne. He got out,and then went into the Army National Guard in 2000. He then went to Iraq in 2005,where he was Scout. While there he was wounded,earning him the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge. As you long time readers of my blog know,he suffers from chronic PTSD and a brain injury.

My father in law,Dick,was in the Coast Guard and participated as support during the Bay of Pigs.Rick's Uncle George (husband to his Aunt Linda)was a prisoner of war during Vietnam. Rick and Brother B remember watching TV to see if his name would be with the list of POW's released. Dick's brother, Ray,also served in Vietnam in the Army. Brother B was in the Army National Guard,and came thisclose to going to Granada,but it was over really before it began.
As you can see, both the Lessards and Shaws have many veterans in them,and I haven't even written about them all.
Thank you,veterans,for defending this country of ours...we are the land of the free because of the you,the brave.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surprise Visitors

This morning I was laying in bed listening to Rick get ready to go hunting.Today is opening season for deer here in NH,and for the last four years Rick has had a doctors appointment on Opening Day,so he was really happy that was not the case this year. There is a very small window for hunters to hunt either sex,and since I am not a hunter,I am not entirely sure how many days it is,but it is no more than 2 or 3. I heard him call down to Brother B to see if he was up and getting ready,and B replied that he was.

Then,I heard the the door from the kitchen to the screen porch(also our mud room) open,and quickly close. I heard Rick call down to Brother B, "We won't be going anywhere for a while-we have two skunks in the mud room."

At this point it's 4:45 AM,and I heard Zach get out of bed. He heard Rick mention skunks,and of course,wanted to see. After a few minutes,the first skunk took off,but the second skunk was not in such a hurry to go.

I got out of bed,and Rick and B had gone off the deck,around the house, to the outside of mud room,where they proceeded to bang on the side of it in hopes of scaring the skunk away. He was curled up behind the recycle bin,against the wall.That sucker wasn't going anywhere. I also noticed that our porch was completely trashed. We had one trash bag on it that was ripped open and garbage was strewn everywhere. Items had fallen off the bench to the floor,and a huge bag of bird seed had been ripped to shreds,leaving 10 lbs of bird seed on the floor.


How did they get on the porch? Our mud room is not attached to the house,so it has settled,causing the simple wood door to not line up with the hook and eye lock.( The door from the kitchen to the mud room is a regular door with a regular lock) The wind had opened the door,and the skunks smelled our trash and bird seed,so they decided to have a nice pre-Thanksgiving feast.

After their futile attempts to scare off the skunk,Rick and Brother B came back inside,and I told them to just go hunting. The skunk would leave eventually,and I could go in and out of the french doors that lead to the deck. Rick,however,would not leave with a skunk on the porch,and he was angry that his hunting plans were getting messed up in this manner. I again told him to just go,and he replied,"Don't say that again. I don't even feel like going hunting now." Alrighty then.

Rick shut off the light in the mud room,thinking that the skunk was probably afraid ,so if it was dark and we left it alone,it would just take off.At 6:15 AM,the skunk decided all was clear and ambled off,not knowing how much aggravation he caused this morning.

Rick and Brother B did wind up going hunting,but only spooked a deer and saw nothing else. Before they left,Rick told me he would clean up the mess after he got back,which was fine with me. I decided I was going to make crock pot chili for supper,thinking after being in the woods all day they would enjoy a nice,hot meal that would warm their bellies and bones. They were back to the house earlier than I thought they would be,and while I was preparing the chili Rick cleaned up the mess,filling a 5 gallon bucket with the wayward bird seed. He decided to give it to the chickens and the turkeys,and they enjoyed it immensely. Rick and Brother B then decided to go back out on the mountain to do more hunting.So I now have a quiet house until Zach gets home from school at 3:00 (being alone doesn't happen very often and I relish the time I do get).

It's amazing how two little creatures can cause so much turmoil on Opening Day.My guess is that lock will be adjusted by the end of the day,and locked each night. Sorry,skunks,but your party is over!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Then and Now

I have a list of blogs that I enjoy reading,though I don't comment on them a lot. Several of them are from Australia and New Zealand ( Hello Rhonda Jean,Sue,Rina,Damaris and Laura!).Right now in the Land Down Under they are beginning their Spring season.It's nice to see their photos of flowers blooming and gardens coming to life.Here in NH,it's quite the opposite,though.

Remember my favorite tree? The colors were so pretty just a few weeks ago:

This is what it now looks like:

Goodbye,colorful leaves.....ALL leaves. This is what most of the trees look like now. Bare. Except of course for the pine trees. We do have few leaf bearing trees that still have leaves on them,but they are a deep rust color and very sparse. My yard has more leaves than the trees! :)
Last night I lit all our candles and oil lamps. I was in the mood to create a cozy atmosphere. I counted 22 lit at once. I would've liked to have taken a photo of how pretty it was,but those type of photos never come out for me. There is something very relaxing about candlelight. We noticed that the house was getting warm-no wood stove was going,and the thermostat was set down to 67 degrees. The temperature in the living room was 77 degrees. Hmmm. I then went to an oil lamp and held my hand over the glass chimney. A surprising amount of heat was coming out of it. The seven oil lamps and candles were creating enough heat to keep the main rooms warm.
While the flames were giving us heat,we watched "The Pacific",produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. We just purchased the mini series a few days ago,and have been watching a couple episodes a night.Last night the fourth episode concentrated about the soldiers time in Australia. I have a special interest in the Pacific during World War II,because my Dad served there. He was in Australia and New Guinea,and some place he called Moretai Island (the spelling is probably wrong,I apologize). My Dad had a great respect and affinity for Australians.He said the people were warm and friendly,and that the soldiers were tough fighters. He would be tickled that I have blogging friends from there. He was with the 197th Coastal Artillery,anti aircraft. He went from Camp Hulan in Texas right to Australia,then to Hollandia, New Guinea. I know he was in different areas in New Guinea,but he really didn't speak of it much.One thing I do remember is that he talked about how the natives would help the Allies,even the head hunters,because the Japanese were so brutal to them. I would love to find some show or documentary about the New Guinea campaign,but haven't so far. We have only seen the first two discs of the 6 disc series,so I am hoping they might have little something about it,even if it is only based on fact and not a documentary.
So today my thoughts range from our country fighting side by side with our Australian brethren 68 years ago,to pretty,colorful flowers being posted by my Down Under blogging friends. From war to flowers,then and now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gray Day...Sunny Blog Design

It is another gray,rainy,chilly day here in NH. It's typical November weather,though. Up in Coos County (pronounce coh-os,not cooze),which is our most northern county, snow fell yesterday. They got a nice little coating.I am glad they got it and not us. I love snow at Christmas,and the first snow is always fun,but the day after Christmas it can all melt and I would be fine. Amazing how when we are younger we love the snow,but as we get older,the fun wears off!

Days like this make a fire in the wood stove even better. It's one thing to have the stove going on a sunny,chilly day,but when it's miserable out,the heat and sight of the flames make the day feel better.

The girls have been increasing their egg output. We now get 5-6 eggs a day. The hens crack me up. The other day I went in the hen house to see how many eggs were left,and one of my Rhode Island Reds was sitting in one of the boxes. I looked to see if any of the other boxes had eggs,but none did,so I checked underneath her chest and there were three eggs! She did not appreciate the fact that I disturbed her while she was trying to lay,and she started squawking at me in no uncertain terms. In fact,I heard her squawking at me the whole time I was walking back to the house! Every time I go to the door of the pen,all the chickens and Runt come running towards me,but when I enter they go the opposite direction. I always ask them," Why are you all running at me,but then take off?" Chickens are quite amusing,to say the least.

You have probably noticed I changed up the design of the blog. I was checking new templates out and really liked this one. I liked the colors and nice,sunny,warm image it has. What do you think?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Precious!

One of the things I have always wanted,but never really felt was necessary,was a standing mixer. I have always used a hand held mixer,and for the amount of baking I did,it sufficed. Plus, after seeing the prices of Kitchen Aids and Cuisinarts,I felt it was too costly for the occasional cookies or brownies. It would be more of a luxury than a necessity.

Another thing I have wanted was a food processor. I had one,once,about 12 years ago. I thought it would be a great thing to have,since I worked full time. I never used it. In fact,it sat for two years,and when I tried to use it,it didn't work. It was a waste of money.

Now I am making my own bread,baked goods from scratch,and canned goods. I chopped more food this past summer than ever before,and my sore wrist attested to that! When making bread,the bread would ride up the beaters all the way to the bottom side of the hand mixer. It wasn't the best mixing job.

When I went to the Drs for my sinus infection,Rick and I decided to do a bit of Christmas shopping,since we were right in Newington where all the malls are. While I was there,I wanted to stop in the kitchen store and finally get a couple of pie rings. You know the rings,they stop the edges of the crust from burning. It's another item I always wanted,but one of the those things that I kept forgetting-until I had to struggle to keep the tinfoil from falling off the pie edges!

While in the store,Rick guided me to mixer area. "I was going to buy one of these for you for Christmas,but they wouldn't allow me to use the ATM card since it's in your name. Now that we are here, you pick out the one you want. It will be an early Christmas present,since I know that you can use it now." There before me, shiny and new,were Kitchen Aid mixers. I protested it was too much money ( I don't like people spending money on me,never have). Rick replied that this was also an investment. "We are also going to get the food processor attachment," he informed me. When I protested further,he reminded me,"Think of how much chopping you did this last summer. Think of the time this will save. Now you are making more from scratch,this will be a big help." He did have a point. And boy,they sure were pretty all lined up with the store lights shining off of them. Hmmm. "Which color would you like?" he asked. There was only one color-white. White goes with everything. Except....they were out of white. Damn.But wait...behind us were Cuisinarts. They were the same price...but they had them in white. So we looked at them a bit,and they were a bit more compact than the Kitchen Aids,which was good for our storage space. Rick started looking at attachments. There were more attachments than the Kitchen Aid. He said,"We will get the meat grinder and the food processor attachments." I started to protest again,but again he insisted that these were investments and will come in very handy. Plus,we can grind up some turkey meat when we harvest the turkeys,and any other meat we want to make into burger. And,we can make sausage,which will be a plus. I couldn't believe I was getting all these wonderful things.

We brought the items home,and I proudly put it on the counter to take a good look at it:

I jokingly started stroking the smooth,new top surface of the mixer and said in my best Lord of the Rings voice,"Precious,my precious!" which made Rick laugh. It is now known as "My Precious." So far it has served us well in the baking dept. I haven't used the attachments yet,but since the holidays are fast approaching,they will be used and highly appreciated!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

Saturday we went trick or treating in my old neighborhood. Zach wore his Gilly suit,camo make up,and wore Rick's old British airborne beret (when Rick was in the 82nd Airborne back in the 80's,he was stationed in Europe and they would train and do joint missions with various units). Now that Zach is 12,I wondered how many more nights of trick or treating we will be doing. There won't be many. I felt a bit sad as we were walking the streets of my old neighborhood. Time keeps moving along,and I wanted to stop it for a little while.

Yesterday I made another batch of laundry soap. This is my first one using new supplies-I bought another Fels Naptha bar for .99 cents.I still have plenty of Borax and Washing Soda. With my initial purchase of 2 Fels Naptha bars,Borax,and Washing Soda, I was able to make 12 gallons,which cost me approx $10.00. My first batch was on Sept 5,2009,and my last batch was July 26,2010. Since I didn't have to make anymore until yesterday,my initial purchase lasted me over a year. You can't do that with store bought detergent!!

I also put away my canning supplies.Up into the attic they went. What I would love is a nice storage cabinet so I could put all my jars and canners into it.

We have started buying paraffin oil for our lamps ( I love oil lamps lit on winter nights). Red paraffin oil! The color looks great in the lamps.

Today I must cover my strawberries. The nights are getting quite cold,and though strawberries can withstand cold down to 20 degrees,I am not taking any chances. We had a touch of Indian Summer here last week,and now the temps are down into the 50's and 40's during the day. Leaves are falling off the trees,and, in fact,many of the trees are bare now.

Yep,it's November. :)