candy corn cookies & doughnuts ~

I saw this recipe on Mimi's Kitchen  and just had to give it a whirl.  Who doesn't love candy corn!!

Mine didn't turn out as cute and uniform as Mimi's ~ but they sure are a tasty little morsel.  I mixed the batter up yesterday ... then with all the wind we were having ... our power went out on us.  So... early this morning when I got up to get Dear Hubby off to work, the power was back on so I finished baking.

Also, since I was in the mood ... a few days ago; but I'm finally getting around to posting :)

I'm not one for using a mix on  hardly anything ... almost all my baking is from scratch BUT when it comes to my doughnuts ... I just can't go wrong using the bag of pre-mix that I purchase at the Mennonite's bulk foods store ~ Beaver Creek  in Athen's, WI.  All you add to the mix is 4 Tablespoons of yeast and 4 Cups of water ... let it rise ... cut them out  ... and fry in veggie oil.  The cost? $4.65 for six dozen!!! Try to top that price.  I know I can't. 

Of course, it just broke Dear Hubby's heart to see me package them up and put them in the freezer for later consumption.  I did give him a few in his lunch box and for breakfast.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


fall beauties ~

 ~ the treetops behind my garage ~

I just thought I'd share today some of the shots captured from the TajMELhal. 

This is a fawn that was born this spring. It's grown out of it's spots.  You can see just a few of them remaining yet on his/her little rump.

Where's Momma?  
Here she is...

Mother and child reunion ...
not that they would be separated long - believe me ... that momma deer knows where her baby is at all times. 

Time for a little afternoon nourishment for our little fawn ...

Company!  It looks like Auntie and her fawn are dropping in for a visit.

More than likely, the two does are sisters ~ as they let their offspring play together like this. 

 A little rough housing with the cousin :)

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


the hunters harvest ~

While I've been out hunting for pretty blooms ~ like the flowers of the staghorn sumac ...
my daughters and granddaughter and son in law and the son in laws brother and their friends have been out hunting the black bear.

It's black bear hunting season in Wisconsin ~ and my kids like to hunt them.

So if you're squeamish about seeing a dead bear  - you might want to quit reading ~ otherwise if you want to see the harvest photos ... scroll on :)

This is my 12 year old Grandlove ~  Brooke.  It was her first bear.  It weighed in at 133 pounds ~ the same that she weighs.

She was so excited and happy of getting her bear.  Her Mom and Dad have been with a group for years now called the Beaver Lake Bear Hunters Association.  It's a great group of guys and gals who get together each fall for the hunting season.  They do most of their hunting with bear hounds; but also sit in blinds and tree stands.  Each year the Wisconsin DNR switches it around on who can hunt the first week of the season first, the hounds or the sitters.  This year it was with the hounds. 

This is my daughter Sara.  It was also her first time harvesting a bear. Her's weighed in a pound less than Brooke's at 132 pounds.  That made Brooke happy ~ her bear was bigger than her Auntie's ... but I thought Sara's bear "looked" bigger.

This was the first time that Sara had an opportunity to take a bear.  You see, the DNR regulates how many people are alloted a harvest/kill tag.  Each year you have to buy an application and your name goes into a lottery.  Luckily she was finally chosen for one ... as were the others in the group.  Brooke lucked  out with her tag as the neighbor had donated it to her for the youth hunt - which is another hunt program that the DNR has for bear hunting.  He donated his tag to her; but in the meantime he was also sacrificing it from using it himself when the season opened for the adults.  Now his name will go back into the draw system and it could be 8 - 12 years before he'll probably get another opportunity for a kill tag.

Look at the size of the chompers on Sara's critter ... and he was just a little guy -

The next lucky gal was my other daughter, Staci ~  her bear weighed in a little more at 275 pounds.

This was Staci's second bear in her life time ... she shot a 200 pounder in 2004.  My girls are going to be busy this weekend canning meat.  Then later this fall helping their Dad make up the bear sausage.

Well ... as you know ... when it comes to hunting it always seems that the men want to harvest something bigger than the gals.  I think it's a male ego thing.  Well this year they weren't disappointed.

Staci's brother in law Jeff lucked out and harvested this big ol' boy.  It weighed in at 386 pounds.

Way to go Buckwheat!  I think that's one of the bears that used to come up on my deck and frequent my bird feeders and look in the windows at me.  Truthfully, I'm glad Jeff got him.  Now I don't have to worry about running into him on my walks and of him coming in by my deer stand. 

But ... not to be out done by his brother .... my son in law Paul had to beat his brother's bear size by harvesting this one today that weighed in at 395 pounds. It's not the best photo; it was taken with the cell phone. 

But the big bear hunter award this year has to go to our friend from the Carolinas, L.H.  His bear weighed in at a whopping 488 pounds!  Now that's a big ol' critter!!  Leave it to a North Carolina boy :)

L.H. drives up to Wisconsin every year to hunt with the guys.  Congratulations!!  I wish I would have taken a picture of his teeth (the bears not L.H.  ... L.H. has nice toofers) ... wow ... he really had some chompers on him.  I know I wouldn't of wanted to run into him on a walk.  Look at how big his paw was ... and part of it was missing.

Congratulations to all of our hunters ~ they work hard to get these bear.  Our guys are food hunters.  They harvest the bear for the meat; but when they get the opportunity to shoot a trophy  ~ that's bonus!:)

Until next time ....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


fall / apple pastry ~

So what happened to Monday and Tuesday?  It's Wednesday already.  It's hard to believe in two more days it'll be the first day of Fall already.  Time sure has been flying by for me.  I guess that's a good thing, because when time drags on in life sometimes even the most simplistic of things sure can become mundane and boring.

turban gourds
The other day, on our way home from the grocery store, we stopped over by our friends, John & Dorothy L., to buy some eggs.  They had some onions sitting by their door step that they had just harvested from the garden.  John gave me one.  Just look at this bugger compared to the bag of onions that I had just purchased at the store.

Wow... there's as much onion in just that one onion as there is in the bagful I had bought.  That big ol' onion is going to make some huge onion rings!  I didn't plant my own onions this year in the garden.  I don't know why??? I guess I just forgot.

I did a little baking yesterday ... I had some apples that I cooned off of Mom's tree :)

I made two huge pans of an apple filled pastry.  It took awhile to make this recipe; but it was so worth it.  We ~ Dear Hubby, Mom, son, brother and myself, ate a third of one while it was still warm, fresh from the oven.  The other 2/3rd got cut into two pieces, one of which Sam devoured last night before he went home, and the other third I put into Slim's lunch box this morning.  The other pan I cut that into half and wrapped and put into the freezer for future consumption.  Yum ... they really turned out good.

Here's the recipe I concocted ~ mind you ... this made two BIG pastries so you might want to cut the recipe in half or even make a bunch of smaller pastries to freeze for later on.  I think I'm going to make another batch of this dough and put some filling in, such as blueberries or a raspberry filling and try freezing them before baking.  It should work out just fine.


4 Cups of flour
1/3 Cup sugar
2 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup evaporated milk
1/3 Cup butter
1/4 Cup water
2 whole eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

8 Cups peeled and cored, chopped apples
4 Tbsp. Minute Tapioca
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 Cup water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 Cup sugar

Sugar Glaze:
2 Cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and water until very warm; but not boiling.  If it's too hot you can kill the action of the yeast.  Gradually, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.  Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl and then incorporate into the dough mix.

On a lightly floured board, knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Put into a greased bowl and cover with a dish cloth.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

In the meantime, while your dough is rising ~ prepare your filling.

Add the peeled and chopped apples to a fry pan or large skillet.  Add the tapioca, butter, water, cinnamon and sugar.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples begin to soften and the tapioca begins to cook and become bubbly.  Turn off the heat and let cool until your ready to assemble.

To assemble the pastry.  Cut the raised dough in two equal pieces.  On a lightly floured board roll out a piece of the dough 12x15 inches.  Place onto a greased jelly roll pan.  Add half of the filling down the center of the dough.  Fold the edges up and over each other to seal.  Cut small slits almost through the dough the length of the pastry, this will release the steam while baking so your pastry doesn't become soggy. 

For the second pan ... repeat the process.

Cover both pans with a dish cloth and let the dough rest and rise a second time, about 1/2 hour.  

Place into a preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake 30 minutes or until golden browned. Cool slightly.
Top with a sugar glaze if desired.  Enjoy!

I haven't baked like that for awhile ... it felt good to be back in the kitchen playing with ingredients to see what I could whip up :)

I also concocted a recipe for some homemade braunschweiger ~ more on that later :)

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


tajMELhall ~

Today was the big reassembly project and  big move of the hunting shack, aka. mini cabin, Mom's hunting shack, aka. The tajMELhall.

The guys had already made a trip out to the woods with the tajMELhall loaded on the trailer behind the four wheeler and in the back of the pick up truck.  They didn't wait on me ~ because I was busy in the kitchen canning pickled beets.  I'm such a domestic diva.

I walked out later to see how things were progressing. Got your hikers on?  Come along ~

This is the trail that I'll be walking every day in November during the deer/rifle season to get to my hunting stand.
It's a nice trail ... actually it's an old road bed ... the old old OLD state highway 70 ... back before the days of black topped highways.  This is the road that the horse and buggy and model T's used.  It runs between my Mom's place and mine. 

Going up a little grade here.  Oh I just love walking through these woods.  My sisters and I put on a lot of miles with the horses through these trails when we were kids.

You can't tell by the picture; but this is the spot that we called the "maples" or "by the big pine" - which is off to the left.  Then it became the intersection where you'd turn to the south to head to Mom's shack (my mother's) but is now MY hunting shack that we'll be heading to - the tajMELhall.  hehe ... how do you like the name?

Now we're walking south.  We were going east ... but you knew that ~ right?

Not much further...  I see the four wheeler parked beside the spot where the old stand once stood.

There it is ~  the tajMELhall ... sitting in all it's glory ... partially assembled ... waiting on it's completion and the month of November to roll along so I can take up residency. 

It looks so much smaller out in the woods than it did when it was being assembled in the garage.

The floor is laid on blocks... the walls are being reassembled ...

I'm so fortunate to have such a loving hubby and son who are making this for me :)

The roof is on ...
Tomorrow ... the windows will be put in and the curtains will be hung. 

Even if I don't see a deer during hunting season ... at least I'm going to have a nice snug building to hunker down in with my camera whenever the mood hits me.  I plan on using the tajMELhall for bird watching and any other critter watching too. It's my little get-away.

If you can't find me ... that's where I'll be.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


aging gracefully ~

So what is "aging gracefully"?   I looked up the meaning of graceful ~

graceful adjective,
1. characterized by beauty of movement, style, form or execution
2. suggesting taste, ease and wealth

After reading what Webster had to say on the subject ... I don't think I'm aging gracefully.

My beauty is no longer that of a young woman.  My hair is graying and it doesn't hang long and flowing as it did in days gone by.  Movement for me is somewhat hindered too.  My fibro makes it downright difficult to get going some days... like today.  Instead of movement with smooth graceful execution I walk like a drunkard with a stagger of excruciation.

Looking at the second meaning ~ suggesting taste ... well I have that ... but I don't think it's the kind of taste old Webster was referring to either.  I have the wardrobe of a bum ~ seriously.  I live in the sticks and there really isn't a need of dressing up in my neck of the woods.  Sometimes it's almost embarrassing what I put on and consider okay to wear for the day.  I remember when my friend moved "up north" from Chicago and she went through a cultural shock at what we wear around here.  Yes, blue jeans and a flannel shirt are acceptable ... and if you're wearing a dress to the grocery store - don't be surprised if someone wants to know who's funeral or wedding you're attending.  Oh.. it's not as bad as it used to be ... people are dressing better ... but it's still a culture shock here ... the majority of us dress like bums and I'll be the first to admit it.

Back to the second meaning ... suggesting ease and wealth ~ well I guess I have ease.  I easily accept things for what they are or what they aren't ????  I find as I'm aging gracefully ... did I just say that?  Well... I'm finding that as I'm aging gracefully I really don't sweat the small stuff anymore.  I'm less bothered by what other people say and do.  I can let a lot roll off my back.

AND how do you measure wealth?  If it's the finanacially wealthy, money in the bank and up the yahoos ~ well I think I can kiss that goodbye, it hasn't happened for me yet and I don't foresee it happening any day soon; but if it's the wealth of knowlege you gain from living and growing up and graduating from the school of hard knocks ... HELLO!!! I am rich!

 ahhhh... I don't know where I'm going with this post.  I'm in such a discombobulated mood it isn't funny ... Lord help me!

Does aging gracefully also mean losing one's mind?

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


salmon and swans ~

How quickly the weather is changing in my neck of the woods.  This morning when I got up and  looked at the thermometer it was at 37F ... turned on the news and heard the predicted high for today is 54F ~brrrrr.  I think I better get the beets out of the ground today and get them canned up.

I've been busy canning, as usual.  My last conquest was doing up 13 quarts of salmon.  It's a pretty easy process.

Canned Salmon
Clean and fillet off fish.  Cut into chunks and pack loosely into quart jars.  To each jar add 2 Tablespoons of ketchup, 2 teaspoons of canning or pickling salt, 1/4 Cup of white vinegar.  Seal and process in a hot water bath for 1-1/2 hours. 

I finally got the last coats of stain on the hunting shack, aka. TajMELhall.  There's so much stain on that shacks chipboard floors and walls I don't fore see it rotting out in my lifetime.  I used a gallon and half of another gallon on it.  That's a LOT of stain on a 6x8 building.  It just kept soaking in ... so I just kept painting it on :)

I also made camo curtains yesterday for the windows.  Now we just need to get this bugger transported into the woods and reassembled.  The guys said they would be doing it this coming weekend.

 I thought I'd share some of my birds ~

  ~ I have them tucked into plants and such all over my house. 
This one is guarding her egg .. a rock DH gave me because he thought I'd like it.  How well he knows me ... it looks just like a big brown egg.
This is one of my fave bird paintings.  It hangs on my bathroom wall ~ where I can sit and admire it every day ... several times a day.  LOL  
I need to get it framed.  It was painted by my sisters neighbor, Gaylene, before she was afflicted with Alzeheimers.  My sister Colleen had it hanging in her house; but when I visited her last time she said that it was mine.  Gaylene wanted me to have it and gave it to Colleen to hold for me the next time I made it to Texas.   Poor Gaylene ... now she doesn't even remember that she could paint.

Swans have such a special place in my heart ~ as they remind me of my sister Lana and the vision that she had of them right before she died.  So this painting has double ... make that triple meaning.  I reminds me of all three of those gals, Colleen, Lana and Gaylene.

I know it seems silly ... but sometimes it's those little things in life that mean so much.  

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


fall clean up ~

It started ... time for cleaning up for the fall and winter season.  One of the first "to do's" on my list is bringing in all the plants that I want to carry over until next spring ~ off the deck.  That means having to rearrange the furniture again too in the living room so everything can have it's place once again.... and the sofas get rearranged for better television viewing. I'm not saving over too many plants this year. 

We have two sofas in our living room ~ his and hers (his is the big one on the right).  During the summer months I push mine up against the railing ... going downstairs; but in the winter months I like to move it in closer to "his" sofa ... so Dear Hubby can hear me when I'm doing my cheerleading for football! Plus ~  he can admire me all lounged out on mine without having to turn his head.  I'm just trying to make things easier for him in his old age.  He is 32 days older than me. lol

That gives me more room then for my plant table by the railing ... plus gives me room for the Christmas tree come December ... just thinking ahead :)

I've been taking down screens too off the windows ... and washing windows before the cold sets in. So much to do and so little time.  Our summer is so short in my neck of the woods and the winter months come on so fast.  We're already having frost warnings at night ... and temps in the 30'sF.  It won't be long and the maple trees will be showing their glorious fall colors ... followed by that dreaded "S" word ~ snow.  This morning the local newscaster said there was a very faint falling of it already this morning in Tomahawk ~ which is just to the south of us less than a hundred miles.  I hope he was mistaken.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


the project update ~

Things are moving right along on the project at hand in my neck of the woods ... taking out the old hunting shack and building a new replacement.

We went down in the woods with the chainsaw, tractor and chains to get things started.  First a little brushing on the trail in to where the old shack was and the new one is going needed to be done.

Fallen trees needed to be pulled out of the way and off the old shack.

Chains were wrapped around the building ... the tractor was fired up ... and off we go ~

It probably would have been just as easy to plow it under right there in the woods; but we didn't ~ it's getting hauled back over to the farm to the burn pile.

Just look at this roof ... now talk about a hunting shack that is falling apart and in need of improvement!! The door and windows had been ripped off and broken from the bear several times.  The whole thing is rotten and was falling apart all the way over to the farm as it was being pulled through the trail.  You can't tell by these pictures; but the floor came off while pulling it ... the "good wall" cracked in half, the other wall busted open ... it was a mess.

Back home in the garage ~
work on the new hunting shack is coming along.

... the table saw is still getting a work out ~

The roof ... which will be attached down in the woods is getting shingles and then was flipped over onto the trailer for some installation of insulation.  Say that really fast ten times :)

The walls are temporarily up and insulated.
A window shelf, aka. gun rest, has been added.
A cot frame and drop down table put in ...

A first coat of stain on the outside is on ...

It won't be long now and it'll all be taken apart ... put onto the trailer ... hauled into the woods ... reassembled, windows and door put on ... the roof placed on ... heater installed ... and we'll be calling it finished ...

... and the squirrels will be whispering ~ 

"I think a crazy nut lives in there."

It'll just be me ... biding my time ... during another hunting season.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.