Wednesday, November 30, 2011

House repair

This weekend, my parents and brother came out to Springfield with me to help me and the Hubs work on the house. There was cosmetic work that needed to be done outside (painting the siding, removing the huge unused antenna, and replacing the siding on the back porch).
Mom painting!
The weekend turned out to be pretty nice. Thursday afternoon, after stuffing ourselves with ham and all the fixin's, we painted and demo'd the existing siding on the back porch.


Dad removing the huge antenna and patching the holes.

Dad and Daniel measuring siding


The Hubs and Dad formulating a plan of attack for the window

Having beer and desserts with my BFF Melissa and my parents at Farmers Gastropub
 There's still some interior work to do, but we got some of the big items off the list this weekend. Hopefully the house will be on the market by January 1 and will sell quickly once people get their tax returns in!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Making Memories

My favorite part of being back home again is making memories with family.

Take, for example, Saturday night's Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt's house. We had a cake to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday, my Great Aunt's 76th birthday, and my cousin-in law's 35th birthday. It was exciting to be a part of this. Grandma had no idea (or at least claimed to have no idea) that there was a cake coming for her. To top it all off, this is the first Thanksgiving I've been home for since 2006. I've hosted my parents out in Springfield since then.
 Last night we got snow. Not ver much mind you, but enough to leave a dusting when I woke up this morning.

 And, Grandma and I were crazy enough to can another 21 pints of pear jam. Sunday afternoon, Dad and I picked a five gallon bucket of pears and Grandma and I spent Sunday afternoon peeling. We made 10 jars of jam with Splenda on Sunday night, then ran out of pectin and Splenda.
So I picked up pectin and Splenda last night and we canned 7 jars of Splenda jam and 4 without any sweetener or sugar at all. It's kind of like pear sauce (the pear version of apple sauce). Even though it was hot in the kitchen, my hands were cramped from peeling, and my feet hurt from standing over the stove for several hours, I know I'll look back in 20 years at this time that I spent making jam with Grandma.


 And then I blocked out four of the doilies. There are two left that are finished and ready for blocking, one I'm still crocheting and at least two more I have plans to make for Christmas presents.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Monday: Settlin by Sugarland

The Hubs and I are looking for a house here in the Cape area. There are a lot of nice houses, but they are in the city limits. Or they don't have 5 acres of land. And there are a lot of houses that are the right size and out of town and have some acres, but are priced way too high. I'm not sure you should really price a house at $140,000 if there are comparable sized houses that price, but that are updated. There was one I looked at online last week with that kind of price on it, but all the finishes were from the 70s and in desperate need of updating. We're talking white bathroom cabinets with gold painted trim, and dark kitchen cabinets. We're talking old bathroom fixtures with toilets that are still 3 gallons per flush. We aren't in a rush to find a house. We still need to sell the one out in Springfield and the Hubs doesn't graduate until May. I have free lodging right now living with Grandma. We're trying to avoid paying two mortgages at once. I like what the Hubs said "We aren't settling" for something less than what we want. The right price. The right size. The right location.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pleased to meet you, I'm Anna the Architect


Look what came while I was out of town! I am officially an architect!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener on the Otherside

And the cows know it.

When the grass is greener, you can see a line on the "other" side of the fence where the cows have stretched over and munched.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Music Monday: Should've Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith



I always sing along with the radio. I remember singing along to this song at the top of my lungs when my Aunt and Uncle were babysitting me (I was elementary school age) and Uncle Collin turning the radio up drown me out... But I just sang louder! haha

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Passing Time: Another Doily

Sorry I can't figure out how to rotate photos in blogger.
I've been working on this doily for the last week or so. It's from a Magic Crochet magazine that dates back to my infant-years.

 Finished size is supposed to be 8-3/4", but mine will probably be closer to 10" after starching.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hauling trees

My cousin sells firewood. The trees he uses are ones that have fallen down on the farm, or have storm damage.
Last weekend I was "helping" Dad haul trees. (In otherwords, I ride on the tractor fender and hand dad the chains.) He wanted to take down a leaning tree in the bottoms (the fields at the bottom of the big hill that our farm is on) that was leaning over the fenceline.

Have you ever wondered what a fence post looks like after a large tree comes down on it?

 No, that fence post isn't broken. Five feet of the six foot post is down in the ground. Along with the finned anchor at the bottom of the post.
 Dad was making fun of me because I was standing about 40' away from the treeline. It's because I didnt' want to end up like the fence post.

This rut was made with the new tractor tires. Deep enough for ya?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our new "Baby"

I know, you probably opened this expecting to see an ultrasound. That is a ways off, my friends!

Last weekend the Hubs sent me a text message (didn't call, mind you, because that wouldn't have been a very friendly call...) telling me he had purchased another Corvair. This is a 67 four door. Our neighbor a couple doors down had a friend who was on the way to the crusher with this gem and asked the Hubs if he wanted it. For $300, we have a new car. 

 I would totally drive this. I don't think the four doors are near as ugly as the two doors. (We have a 68 two door.) But that's opposite what the Hubs thinks. But, this will just be a parts car.

It has a couple dents. A little difficult to see in the above photo, but the rear panel between the rear tire and the back of the car is dented. Also on the passenger side, the rear door has a pretty deep scratch/dent.


 Overall though, it's in pretty decent shape for it's age. It sat in a carport for who knows how long.
 At the moment the trunk is not able to be opened (trunks are in the front on Corvairs since the motor is in the back) because it is locked. For all we know, there's a mummy in there.

 That paper on the front passenger seat is the Owner's manual!
Some critters decided the engine compartment was a nice place to build a nest. They also chewed the wiring harness so we don't know if this motor runs.

Life Cycle

A couple weekends ago as I was waiting for Dad to move hay bales around to accommodate the calves moving into the barn, I was distracted by the lady bugs on the fence posts in the barn lot.

Check out this website for more information on lady bug lifecycles: http://everything-ladybug.com/ladybug-life-cycle.html
Adult and larva

Pupa

Eggs (upper right) and a freshly molted lady bug. I touched it and it was still a little sticky!

I think the larva look like little alligators. The first time I saw them in my garden, I was afraid they were some kind of pest. Luckily, I looked up the bugs online before I squished any of them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Family Recipe: Fruit Cake

Every year for as long as I can remember, my Grandma Ettling has made fruit cake and given it as Christmas gifts. She makes it a couple months before Christmas, and then soaks it in brandy for two months.

A couple years ago for Christmas, Grandma and her sisters compiled binders of family recipes and photos in cookbooks and gave them to kids and grandkids. This was one of those recipes that I was hoping would be in the cookbook, but wasn't. 

I don't think I've ever eaten store bought fruit cake, but if that's the only fruit cake you've ever eaten and you didn't like it, you need to try this fruit cake.

For as long as I can remember, this tin has sat on top of Grandma's refrigerator. 
Little did I know it holds a majority of the fruit for the fruitcake.


The ingredients:
2 - 8 oz boxes of Dates
about a pound of Currants
about 3 cups of Pecan halves
3 lb Red Cherries
1.5 lb Green Cherries
1.5 lb Pineapple
12 oz regular Raisins
8 oz golden Raisins
about 48 oz Fruit Cake fruit mix
Brandy

The batter:
2 sticks of butter, partially melted, or at room temperature
18 eggs, at room temperature
8 c flour, added 3 c at a time
1-1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 c orange juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

First off, we prepared the pans. Grandma uses disposable aluminum loaf pans and lines them with paper grocery bags. Then she sprays them with Pam.

After the cake batter was mixed, all the fixings went in:
 Then Uncle Joe mixed everything up.

 The batter was ladled into the pans, and baked at 300 for an hour. Then Grandma rotated some of the pans around and baked for another 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to rotate and remove pans that were finished baking.
This mix made 6 big pans and four small pans.

Then came the brandy. Grandma wraps the fruit cake in cheesecloth and saran wrap after pouring a couple shots over them. In a week, she unwraps them and adds more brandy. Then they hang out in the fruit cellar until Christmas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Garden Report 11.11.11

Well this makes me a little sad as it's one of the last garden reports I'll have from this house... But once I start helping with the garden on the farm next spring all that sadness will dissipate quickly!
 Since my coffee maker is at the farm, I'm drinking instant coffee. But I made sure to get the "good stuff", Maxwell House Hazelnut.
 The cover crops are coming up really well. So well that they're drowning out the onions and garlic. I spent some time weeding this morning.

Leeks

Garlic

Onions

 The lettuce mix is rather large. There are several salads worth of greens here. I'll probably pick them and take them back to the farm.
Parsnips

Everything in the greenhouse is looking ok. The Hubs has watered the plants once since I left. They're all going back with me.


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