Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lincoln's Law Partner

Smalltownland may be small, but it is not without history. This morning I snuck away from the farmette and drove to town to run some errands....and of course take some pictures. Since we are having a burst of warm weather, I thought I needed to strike while the iron is hot.
Built shortly after 1816, the Herndon House, as it is locally known, was originally built for Mr. Bartlett Hilliard. Constructed in the Federal style, it remains an important piece of existing architecture and history.
Mr. Hilliard was the owner from 1816-1835. According to historical records William Herndon also lived in the house, along with his grandson, William H. Herndon.

William H. Herndon is well known as being Abraham Lincoln's law partner. He was born here in 1818 and moved, with his family, to Illinois in 1820.

The brickwork is in Flemish bond and the original six-over-six pane windows survive.

A diamond in the rough it does need some restoration and is currently for sale.

Won't you be my neighbor?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'd Totally Eat That

My monthly issue of Southern Living Magazine arrived in my broken-door-country-road mailbox this week. And in true Farmchick fashion, I opened the pages and started reading from the back to the front. Why, you ask? Well, it's just this thing I have. I happen to think that some of the most interesting stuff is located in the back section of magazines and I find that I am rarely wrong. On the last page is an article written by Rick Bragg. In it he describes what his dream plate would look like for his last meal.

This had me thinking....not so much about my last meal, but about some of the best places I have ever eaten. So, let's get started. First I have to give a shout out to Cafe Du Monde. Located in New Orleans, they are famous for their beignets. In fact, that is the only food you will get there. A cup of cafe-au-lait and a plate of beignets is a fine way to start the day. Or, anytime of day for that matter. And don't wear black, whatever you do. You will have powdered sugar all over you.

Next Lynn's Paradise Cafe, comes to mind. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, they are well known for their mac-n-cheese, but it was really the fried green tomatoes that did it for me. And, the decor....oh, the decor. Shall I start with the annual Ugly Lamp Contest or the legs that hang from the walls? Or, maybe the tree in the middle of the dining room. As much a visual experience as a taste experience for sure. And no, I did not try to ride the horse sitting out in front of the restaurant. However, it is possible that my friend Southern Fried Momma snapped a pic of me sitting on a pig type statue......I am sure she no longer has that picture.

And now on to the big eats. Lambert's Cafe in Missouri is famous for their rolls. They are huge and if you want to eat one you must catch it. It doesn't matter if you are too young or feeble for that matter. You still have to catch it. I once watched the, "roll thrower", stand right next to an elderly gentlemen and lightly toss him a roll. Apparently handing a person a roll is a sin in this establishment. Oh, and I should also mention that a person comes around and dishes out free seconds of food. Seriously, it is more food than you can eat, but not more than you can enjoy.

So how about it dear readers? What are some of your favorite foods/food establishments? I would love to hear your responses. After all, sharing is what it is all about.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blessing Our Circumstances

Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you...If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it.

Emmet Fox

And so I decided to bless yet another snow day home from school with the kids. And, I survived with both of my eyeballs. But, I did take a little mental field trip into some green photos. You grass, green ferns, green trees, etc.....

Dreaming of my front porch in warmer weather. I cannot wait.

Pears ready for picking. I am trying to forget the hornets and wasps that also seem to come with the picking.

My lawn chair sitting amongst the fruit, green, green.

And, a little burst of sunshine to go along with all of the green. A whimsical looking sunflower that grew in our garden last year.

Then, after my mental field trip, my husband came home from work. He rounded up the kids and took them to a local basketball game. I stayed home in the peace and quiet.

And that is the real reason I still have both of my eyeballs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

These Pictures Do Not Make Me Happy

Well.....I do enjoy this picture of our resident Sir Charles. However, I happen to know, for a fact, that he is the one responsible for the heinous activity pictured below.
Yes, that sweet faced dog made this mess. And, I am so glad that I bought this antique spool bed just so he could ravage the spare bedroom area. (insert fake smile)

And then I found this little gem on a wall hanging. Yet more evidence of too much time spent indoors lately, by both dogs and children.

And now with more snow in the forecast EVERYDAY for the coming week I feel that I could just poke myself in the eye.

But, alas I shall not and press on into the endeavors of parenthood! Even if it does induce some insanity.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A View From the Front Porch

Yesterday afternoon we received more snow and this was the view from my front porch as the heavy snow was coming down.
This morning we awoke to a bit of sunshine and a fresh blanket of almost three inches of the white stuff.

Yet another snow day for the chiclets and I. We are now approaching double digits in terms of snow days. Not a good sign as we still have quite a bit more winter to go.

Bitterly cold temps mean that even the dogs don't want to venture outdoors.

A bit of baking, laundry and some time with the Kindle today.
Stay warm my friends!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Old is Just a State of Mind

"Marilla says that a large family was raised in that old house long ago, and that it was a real pretty place, with a lovely garden and roses climbing all over it. It was full of little children and laughter and songs; and now it is empty, and nothing ever wanders through it but the wind. How lonely and sorrowful it must feel! Perhaps they all come back on moonlit nights...the ghosts of the little children of long ago and the roses and the songs...all for a little while the old house can dream it is young and joyous again."

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea

I love old things and it really doesn't matter what they are. Rust, faded paint, splintered all says history to me. Old houses are my most favorite thing. They each have their own story to tell and, at one time, a family who loved living in them. Some are painted, some are brick, and some are just an odd mix of whatever happened to be on hand. Sometimes those are the best of all. Truly lived in and used to the fullest.

Smalltownland has wonderful examples of Federal architecture. Throughout the town, and the surrounding county, you can also find a mix of architectural styles.

Some have been rehabilitated and some have not.

There are a few in our area that have been in the same family for generations.

If you enjoy old homes as much as I do, may I suggest that you go here. Scroll down until you are almost at the bottom of the page. On the left hand side, in small red print, you will see the following words: historic properties. Click on this and it will take you to an historic homes finder. It allows you to peruse historic homes, across our nation, that are for sale.

And yes, the sellers post pictures of interiors, grounds, and they give a bit of the home's history. A couple of times I have been surprised to find homes in my area for sale. A fun way to fritter away a few minutes...or hours.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chilly = Chili

I think that by this time of the winter most people can attest that they have consumed some chili. A great cold weather food, it is also a dish that is rather personal in its making. Everyone has their own favorite way of making it. Whether it be with pasta, (or without), maybe different types of beans, or the addition of jalapenos, it is a very individual dish.
So of course I am going to press upon you my favorite way of making chili. This is actually a knock-off recipe of Wendy's chili, so if you have ever enjoyed their chili, you will likely enjoy this recipe.

Chili from the Farmchick
2 lbs ground beef, cooked and well drained
1- 29 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 - 15 ounce cans of kidney beans, drained
1 - 15 ounce cans of pinto beans
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green chilies
1/4 cup diced celery
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp cumin
3 tbls chili powder
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 cups water

Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Typically I prep this and then leave it in the crock pot all day, on low. I often like to add a couple of additional fresh tomatoes and the recipe handles it well. And, naturally, I often use ground venison instead of beef. The flavors go well with corn muffins on the side and shredded cheese on top.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back to Reality

And so the chiclets and I arose at the sound of the alarm this morning. We finally went back to school, after being home for three days. It has been a nice three days.
Lots of movie watching, telephone talking, crafting, cooking, reading of books, and playing in the snow occurred while we were off from school. Minimal arguing between the children was much appreciated by the management.

And even though I try to appreciate each day for what it is, I can't help but look forward to sunflowers from my garden resting on a child's vintage ironing board.

Stay warm.....I am trying to!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dust of Snow

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued

Robert Frost

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Think I'm Ready

So, we have more snow in the forecast.
Thus I went to the pantry shelf and determined that we have more than enough mac-n-cheese, Vienna sausages and Ski soda to make it through a few days of being housebound out here in the sticks.

I have a loaded Kindle, so I am set.

It's possible that I should have brought the Christmas air horn back from my parent's house. I might need it to break up a few sibling arguments during our time together.
*Disclaimer* Dad if you are reading this, I really don't allow the children to exist off of mac-n-cheese and Vienna sausages. The Ski is reserved for me. Love, your one and only, favorite daughter.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow is for the Birds

Snow is for the birds....literally. We are under a snow advisory for the entire day and it seems that the birds are loving it. Droves of them arrived at the feeders early this morning. Typically I am not home at this time of the morning to witness their social display, so I was enjoying it.
Possibly the bird on the right has had enough of the bird on the left. He looks a bit miffed.

This sweet one was just resting on the deck post in the falling snow.

Then he noticed I was taking his picture.

And then we have this dude.....

peeking around the corner and checking out the scene.
Stay warm and enjoy some cocoa today, we will.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hot Cocoa In My Cup

Cocoa? Cocoa! Damn miserable puny stuff, fit for kittens and unwashed boys. Did Shakespeare drink cocoa?

Shirley Jackson
American Writer 1919-1965

I don't know about Shakespeare, but the unwashed boy in my house certainly drinks plenty of cocoa, along with the semi-washed girl and the Secret Agent Man.

When I was growing up my mom had a friend who made the best homemade hot cocoa mix. She made huge batches of the stuff and would pass it along to our house. Growing up in North Dakota I had plenty of long, cold winters in which to enjoy this hot beverage. And the only way to truly enjoy it, as far as I am concerned, is with a huge dollop of marshmallow creme. It melts in the cocoa and only adds to the flavor.

Heaven in a mug.

Here is the recipe for that childhood cocoa mix. I now have my daughter hooked on the stuff.

Ms. Ruth's Hot Cocoa Mix

1 box powdered milk (8 quart mix)
2 lbs Nestle Quik
8 ounce jar of coffee creamer
1 cup powdered sugar
2 small boxes of instant chocolate pudding

I gently mixed all the powdered ingredients in my KitchenAid mixer until everything was well incorporated. This makes a lot of mix and I used a 1-gallon jar to store it in.
When ready to use add 1/4 cup of mix to a medium sized mug of hot water and stir until dissolved. Top with marshmallow creme. Yes, you have to.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Long Way Home

Alas, my holiday break is just about over and early tomorrow morning the alarm clock will trumpet a call that I do not yearn to hear. But, I have truly enjoyed my time off from work being able to read, watch movies, relax, and spend time with my family.
My daughter and I drove to Smalltownland on Friday to run some much needed errands before the school week is upon us. When we were finished I decided to take the long way home, much to the chagrin of my daughter. By the way she was sighing one would have thought she might expire at any given moment.
All of these shots were taken out the window of my car and they are straight out of the camera. This is a winding road that leads to my farm and two vehicles can barely pass each other on the given pavement.
This building is part of a long ago farm and I am really not sure of its use. Any guesses?

This is a bigger shot of an old farmhouse that I featured on a Thoughtless Thursday post a while ago. It has been covered in tin panels to preserve it.

The clouds were really starting to move in while we were driving home.

But, some light was trying to shine through.

Wishing all of you a great week as we all start a new year. Make sure you make the time to take the long way home this week.