sausage time ~

 It's that time of the year again ... the weather is right for making sausage.  We can't run our homemade smoke house if it's too warm out ~ it's too hard to regulate the heat.

The photos that I'm posting today are from a prior year - I didn't have my camera out in the work shop yesterday; but it still shows what was going on.  Only yesterday's sausage making process was on a much larger scale this time around.

 Here some summer sausage casings and a bowl of spices mixed up and ready to go.

Next, the meat is prepared for grinding ~ cubed up and the spices added:

 Yesterday we had almost 200 pounds of venison, 40 pounds of beef, 150 pounds of pork, and about 50 pounds of bear meat that went through the Old Faithful, our antique Hobart grinder.  We bought that grinder about 25 years ago for $100 ... and have certainly gotten our money's worth out of it over the years.

the hand cranked sausage stuffer:

Dear Hubby likes to soak the summer sausage casings in water mixed with liquid smoke ... "adds a little more flavor" he says.

venison summer sausage - 200 lbs of it per smoke house

I think we ended up with 60 sticks this year.

Bratwurst ~

and Italian sausages ... that I don't have a pic of

trays of breakfast sausage ... scored, pre-frozen and packaged
trays of breakfast links 
to go with those farm fresh eggs ... yum yum
and toast in the morning made from homemade bread

with my homemade jam ...

It's a lot of work - trying to maintain a life style of being self sufficient ... working with our hands ... making the most of what is provided to us from Above ... and I wouldn't trade it for nothing.  I like eating what I know is in the product :)

Next thing to be done ...

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


trees up ~

I couldn't procrastinate any longer ... I needed to get my Christmas tree up.   I went down in the woods this last weekend with Sam and Ash, Sara and Don to get one ... which we did ... but it just turned out to be such a Charlie Browner that we ended up planting it in the flower bed outside with some lights on.  I ended up setting up my artificial tree... which I vowed I wasn't going to do this year.  The kids just begged me the last few years to quit using the fake tree ... so this year I only used half of it :)  Last year I had a real tree ~ so I don't know what all the fuss was about.  Besides that ... I like my fake tree.  I don't have to remember to water it!

I used to have boxes and boxes of ornaments and decorations ... but over the last few years I have given them away or thrown them out.  I was just tired of them ... I wanted to do something different.  So this year there are no bulbs on my tree ... just a couple silk pointsettia bushes that I cut apart and tucked in the branches, a few pine cones and floral picks of some berries, a few tufts of cut up tinsel garland and a black and red garland that I made from cutting up an old dress ~ that I also made the tree skirt out of.

The tree is half the size of what we normally have ... but all in all ... I'm satisfied with the way it turned out.  I don't think there is such a thing as a bad Christmas tree ~ even my Charlie Browner outside is beautiful all lit up at night.  

note to self ... take a pic of the Charlie Browner
I took a few more outside pics ... just thought I'd share.  It was rainy and dreary ... foggy out ... but still a beautiful day:

Ice setting in on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage - looking out from the old boat landing

 Rain drops ... turning to ice drops ...

 ~ a row of rocks ~

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


A to Z of Christmas ~

What's the first word that comes to mind when you think of the A to Z of Christmas?  Don't over think it ... just write down the first thing that comes to mind.  Here's my thoughts:

A - angels

B - baklava ~ I don't know if it's a traditional Christmas foodie; but I like it :)

C - carolers

D - Donner ~ the most famous reindeer of all ... he was Rudolph's daddy ... just thought I'd put that out there in case you didn't know

E - elephant ~ the styrofoam one that Dear Hubby made when he was around five years old with his Grandma Rickert.  It has beads and stick pins in it.  It's really rather ugly; but we put it on the tree every year.

F- fudge

G - God's Gift to us ... The reason for the season!

H - hugs from the Grandloves

I - icicles ~ lots of icicles made of clear acrylic plastic hanging from the tree, reflecting the lights ~ Mom puts about 200 of them on her tree every year

J - jingle bells

K - Kris Kringle

L - love

M - m&m's (the red and green holiday ones)

N - nose ~ Rudolph with that nose so bright .. won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

O - opening presents

P - precious memories

Q - quaint gifts that the kids have given from when they were in elementary school - like the picture frame with macaroni glued on it and painted gold

R - Ribbons

S - snow, snow ... let it snow ... let it snow ... let it snow

T - tinsel ~ the old fashioned kind that had that heavy weight to it - can you even buy that stuff anymore?

U - U better watch out, U better not cry, U better not pout I'm telling U why ~ Santa Claus is coming 2 town

V - visions of sugar plums

W - watermelon ~ I sure could go for some watermelon this time of the year

X - Xmas ~ but I always write it Christmas

Y - Yule Log cake ~ I remember Mom so painstakingly making one and my brother Randy taking a big bite out of the center of it

Z - Zebra striped pajama's - I never had a pair; but always thought it would be fun to wear zebra striped pj's.  Wouldn't I be one hip looking grandma wearing zebra striped pajamas Christmas morning!

So what's your A to Z's of Christmas?

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


the fudge - again ~

I posted this recipe way back in '09 ... but the season is once again upon us :)

I am picky when it comes to fudge.  I don't like a fudge that is over cooked or grainy in texture.  I've been researching and trying out fudge recipes and I think I have finally come up with "THE FUDGE" recipe that I've been hoping for.

In researching, I read an article about fudge and why it can be grainy in texture.  One being overcooked and the other; which really makes sense, is the use of small miniature marshmallows versus using large marshmallows that are quartered or the marshmallow creme.  Miniature marshmallows  have a coating of cornstarch on them so they don't stick together.  Well all that extra cornstarch can be just enough to ruin a batch of fudge.

Here's the recipe and I came up with ... and love!
  This really is a good creamy fudge and it's super easy to make ~ just don't make it too far ahead of Christmas or I guarantee you'll be making another batch :) AND a little word of advice ... if you do make it ahead ... find a good hiding place for it, because if your family is like mine ... they'll act like bloodhounds and sniff it out and it will disappear. 

makes 36 pieces


2 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla emulsion or extract
1 cup butter 
25 large marshmallows, quartered
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


1.  Grease 1 - 9x13 cake pan.  Set aside.

2.  Combine sugar, milk, vanilla and butter in large, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for 2 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and add marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate.  Stir until all the chocolate and marshmallows are melted and smooth.    Mix well.  Add nuts if wanted.

4.  Pour into prepared pan.  Let the fudge sit at least 24 hours to set up ~ before cutting into squares. (that's the hard part of this recipe) Refrigerate for easier cutting.

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



another snowy day and out of the mouth of babes~

It was another cold one out there today.  Our Grandlove Bailey spent the night with us and went along on the trap line this morning.  She convinced us that she could miss Sunday school today; "because sometimes you just have to go trapping with Grandpa and her teacher would understand that".   :)  I told her I thought the Good Lord would let this one time slide ... she was so cute when she said, "Oh, I know God and he understands moments like this."  lol ... out of the mouth of babes ~

She then proceeded to tell her Grandpa that today he has to teach her something.  Thus the lesson began ... the art of walking in each others foot steps.

First she would follow ...

Then she would lead ...


She liked being the leader better than the follower.

Two people walked here ~ but it looks like just one.

Time to do more following ...

and come back leading :)

The woods were just gorgeous today ~

another beaver pond that DH has high hopes for in a few weeks

snowy birch
and cones
snowy spruce

Anyone need a big Christmas tree?

Bailey thought it was so funny when she got in the truck after checking a set with her Grandpa.  You see, Grandpa just put some lure by the trap.  The lure was skunk or fox urine ... something on the line of that ... and take my word for it ... it stunk!  Like skunk!!

Bailey, apparently was standing down wind from it when he was scenting it up. Oh did she stink!  I couldn't believe it how she thought it was so funny.  My eyes were watering when she got in the truck.  Then she made the comment that confirmed this IS GRANDPA SLIM'S GRANDLOVE ~

"Oh Grandma ... it's not that bad.  That's the smell of money."

OH MY GOSH!!!  That is what her Grandpa says ALL THE TIME ... out of the mouth of babes!

My Dad used to say that too when I was a kid and we raised ranch mink ... I always said, if that's the smell of money I don't want to be rich.  

Yep, it's a stinky job; but someone has to do it.

Thank goodness I at least get to look at some beautiful scenery while trekking around with the two stinkers.
We took a drive over to the boat landing to check out the ice on the flowage ... still a little iffy if you ask me.  It was good ice forming then we got this snow on top ... causing some slush spots.

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