Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Sometimes a girl just needs to rest her head.  

Thankful this Thursday for good friends.  I met up with some teacher/coworker-friends yesterday for lunch.  True enough that I saw them about a week ago, but we had things to discuss, good food to eat, and laughs to have.  Lunch took way longer than expected, but that was fine with me.  

What is life without wonderful people to surround yourself with?  

"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:  this is the ideal life."  

Mark Twain  


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Back in the Saddle


It's me......

Attempting to get back into the daily routine after having a wonderful time during Christmas is proving to be a bit more difficult than usual.  

Rainy days leave me somewhat unmotivated for much of anything.....except for breaking in a new camera I received for the holiday.  

I don't need to get myself motivated for a little camera work, it is just automatic. 
The learning curve is steep.  
I hope I am up to it.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas......

I will be taking a break for a few days to spend time with family and friends.  

I would like to send out heartfelt thanks for all of you who continue to comment and share words of encouragement throughout our time together.  

I truly appreciate it all...... 

Merry Christmas   

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Orange in My Stocking

Sharing with you today an older post, but a favorite childhood memory of mine.  
Merry Christmas  

When I was growing up I always had a Christmas stocking. Hung somewhere in the house, usually the banister, waiting to be filled by Santa Claus. Except, my stocking wasn't filled with candy or small toys. Every year, when I would check its contents, it would be full of oranges and nuts, always in their shell. Sometimes, there might even be an apple in it. As a child, I found this to be rather curious. My friends didn't get fruit and nuts in their stockings. I was convinced something was wrong at my house.
As I matured, I came to understand that it was more of a tradition for an orange to be placed in a Christmas stocking. And, until recently, I thought it was due to oranges being more of a rare item for people in the past. Many years ago, and especially in poorer communities, oranges were just not readily available. Receiving an orange in the winter was a true treat indeed.
It seems that the tradition of an orange in the toe of your Christmas stocking originates with a certain Nicholas. He was born in a village in what is now known as Turkey. He became wealthy through an inheritance, but spent his time helping the poor. Eventually he became a Bishop in the New Christian Church.

Bishop Nicholas learned of a poor man with three daughters who had no dowries. And, without dowries, they could not marry. Bishop Nicholas took it upon himself to take three bags of gold coins and toss them down the poor man's chimney.....which somehow happened to land in the daughter's stocking that were hanging up to dry in front of the fireplace.

The bags of gold turned into balls of gold which now symbolize the oranges. Bishop Nicholas is often shown in pictures wearing a red ceremonial robe and miter, while holding the staff of a bishop as well as holding three gold balls, gold coins, or pieces of fruit. He was later canonized and made a saint. Thus we know him as Saint Nicholas.

So, we have him to thank for those wonderful oranges in our stockings on Christmas morning. They do fill out the toe rather nicely, I think.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dark Secrets

Bet you thought I was really going to spill it, huh?  

Not this time, but I will share an old recipe with you.  A cookie recipe that I copied down, on a piece of notebook paper, many years ago.  It comes from a cook in the Bardstown area, known for her wonderful dishes.  Fine, Southern food, but nothing very fancy.  

It does contain candied fruit and raisins.  Two ingredients that I really don't like.  They receive a fine chop, so they aren't that noticeable.  

On the other hand, this recipe does utilize two of my favorite ingredients, Bourbon and butter.  If you are an Ambassador for Maker's Mark, (like me), you receive fun Christmas gifts each year.  A couple of weeks ago the earmuffs arrived, because no one wants their Bourbon to be chilly.  

Some fine chopping, and the help of a Kitchen-Aid mixer, had everything under control.  

The completed dough tasted pretty good, too.  Cinnamon and Nutmeg are prevalent in the flavor profile.  

Taking a moment for a reality check.  Blogging  always shows such states of creativity and perfection.....this is the reality of baking in my kitchen.  

I came out with a wonderful pile of crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, kind of cookies.  

For the finale, a cloth soaked in Bourbon, (that is why it looks so dingy), and a sliced apple go on top of the pile.  It will be covered with a vintage metal cake dome and opened in a few days.  

If you are feeling daring, this holiday season, then this cookie recipe might just be for you.  I will leave you to it.   

Dark Secrets

2 sticks butter
3 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons sour milk - (one tablespoon vinegar mixed with 1 cup of milk will yield sour milk)
4 eggs
6 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 cups raisins
1 cup candied fruit
2 cups walnuts
3 teaspoons nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons Maker's Mark Bourbon
**I halved this recipe without a problem.  

Cream butter and sugar.  Add sour milk, eggs, and Bourbon.  In separate bowl, sift the flour and spices together.  (Leave out a cup of the flour mixture to coat the raisins/fruit.)  Then add to the butter mixture.  

Finely chop raisins and fruit.  Mix with the cup of flour and stir into dough mixture.  

Drop the dough with a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet.  Leave some space as cookies may spread.  Bake 8 minutes at 375 degrees.  

*Store in a tin lined with foil.  Soak a cloth in Bourbon and lay on top.  Slice up an apple and lay on top.  Close up tin for a few days.  


Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Randoms

The time is nigh....a bit of shopping for me this weekend and all will be complete.  

Ever thought about living in Vermont?  I know....the snow!  Here is a fantastic, historic home located on a ......wait for it......a Christmas tree farm.  Almost too perfect.  

Trying to select a gift for a home cook, who might have it all?  Well, fret no more and look right here.  

Selfies of the Week on CNN, features one of my favorites, Rory McIlroy.  Even in protective eyewear he is handsome.  

Leaving you with this song for the weekend.  Heard it yesterday for the first time in a long time.  

Linking up with Tanya today.  
Pay her a visit!  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Thankful this Thursday for wandering, country roads with unknown destinations.  For me there is nothing better than whiling away an hour, or two, on a country road with old farms, Amish buggies, and scenic views.  

I came across this building and first thought it might be an old schoolhouse.  Its long, narrow form didn't make me think it was a house.  Yet, the front view does give it the look of a residence....of long ago.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Two For the Price of One

Juxtaposition - an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.  

Out for an afternoon drive yesterday, I was lucky enough to come upon this falling-down beauty.  Then, I realized her new counterpart was sitting right beside her.  

The old and the new.....personally I prefer the old, but I realize she cannot perform her duties like she used to.  

"Do not let a flattering woman coax and wheedle you and deceive you;  she is after your barn."  


Linking up with Tom and Mersad today....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Warm Weather Happenings

Maybe we hit the 70 degree mark yesterday.  This old farmhouse had many windows open and clothes were on the line.  

The Smalltownland square is dressed up for the season, but no snow to go with.  

The spring and waterfalls are flowing nicely and easy to see now that the trees have shed their leaves.  

There is even a little bit of time for playing on the hay roll.  
You have to take advantage of the weather when you can.  

At this very moment I have a Ladybug riding along on the mouse while I work.  
The perfect blogging companion,
 but we are usually finished with them at this point in the year.  

"Weather forecast for tonight; dark." 

George Carlin  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Randoms

Just a few berries lingering around the farmette.  

First Man-Buns, now Beardaments?  This whole hair thing is getting a little carried away.....

This sweet Santa used sign language to communicate with a little girl.  If this doesn't activate your Christmas spirit, then nothing will.  

Calling all you photographers out are a few tips to a better picture.  

Leaving you with a little Chris Stapleton for the weekend.

Linking up with Tanya today!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Thankful this Thursday for some good weather to enjoy....though I wonder if we will be paying for it later.  Cool mornings and warm days have been the norm for us lately.  

A bit of fog showed up this week.  Not too much trouble for anyone and it did give some beautiful landscapes on the way to work.  

"Derive happiness from one's self from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us."  

Henri Mattise  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"Tis the Season

The Christmas Season is in full swing for all of us here at the farmette.  Gifts for students are being wrapped, trees are up, and lights are lit. 

At school, cinnamon dough has been made for my students to design ornaments, their Christmas play practice is going well, and they took a trip to the movies today, courtesy of our PTO.  

Menu planning has begun for the extended family Christmas dinner, being held here at our home.   

Not much time left.......

Are you ready?  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Comely Trio

This morning I went directly to the archives.  

Searching for a few barns to share with Tom.  

Nothing says, "America", quite like a barn.  

“Inside a barn is a whole universe, with its own time zone and climate and ecosystem, a shadowy world of swirling dust illuminated in tiger stripes by light shining through the cracks between the boards. Old leather tack, lengths of chain, rope, and baling twine dangled from nails and rafters and draped over stall railings. Generations of pocketknives lay lost in the layers of detritus on the floor.”

Carolyn Jourdan  

Linking up with Tom today.....

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Randoms

Just a sunset here on the farmette.  Edited with a little artistic touch. 

Julia Child's French cottage is up for sale.  What a little gem.  The kitchen really is an almost exact replica of her Massachusetts home.  A true cook's kitchen.  

My daughter likes to make a small Gingerbread House out of a kit, but I confess that we have never taken on the true project.  If you are so inclined, here are some inspiring ideas.  

In my youth, I was somewhat of a Star Wars fan.  However, I haven't really continued on with that phase.  If you happen to be one, you might want to check out these kitchen gadgets.  I am partial to the Death Star Ice Mold and Light Saber Chopsticks.  

Sending you off into the weekend with a bit of Lyle Lovett.  

Linking up with Tanya today!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Earlier this week I was outside trying to take a photo for just this post.  They sky was growing dark.  It was cold and I ran outside in my flip-flops....being desperate for a photo.  I am not sure what I was even trying to take a picture of, but I do know that my Jack Russell buddy showed up, out of focus, in the background.  

Thankful today for her companionship.  Yes, she is bossy, but someone has to be.  Always around to warm your lap, steal the covers, and bark in the middle of the night.  

That's my buddy.  

"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."  

Samuel Butler  

Linking up today with Theresa.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A New Friend

"All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife."  

Daniel Boone  

Though the young man of the house might be a bit young for a wife, he still has the gun, but with a good dog instead.  Here he is on the annual day after Thanksgiving rabbit hunt.  His canine friend is just a pup and out for the hunt to learn the ropes.  

The dog stuck with my son all morning long.  One never knows when a new friend will be just  around the corner.