syruping ~

We took a ride yesterday over to my nephew Dave's place to check out how things were going in the maple syrup shack ... to see if they were cooking down sap.  When we pulled up we noticed there wasn't any smoke or steam coming from the chimney and ceiling vent.  We missed it ... they started to cook down; but it was getting too late so they let the fires go out and said they'd finish cooking off tomorrow.

Making syrup is done under the careful supervision of Sammy ~ taking it easy  ... laying out on top of the kennel on his bear skin rug ... I guess every job needs it's foreman.

Mom and Wendy did discuss the cooking off process ... once again ... as they have so many times before ~
starting with that one little plink plink plink of sap dripping from the tree ~

into a chorus line of plinks and plunks from many taps ....  one of those sounds you just have to hear to really appreciate what I'm talking about ... the dripping of the tree sap into the metal buckets hung throughout the woods ...

yes ... it was a good way to spend the late afternoon ... visiting with Dave & Wendy ... being outside ... breathing in the spring air ... AND ~

being reminded by Mark and Alice's and Scotty's kids what it was like once again of being a kid ... playing in the woods ....

They were busy making a fort ... a few sticks across some rocks ... with a few handfuls of grass ... but it was sufficient enough to ward off the monster that was attacking the woods and drinking up the maple sap from Uncle Dave's buckets.
You rock Dylon! 
Keep Uncle Dave's woods safe from that sap slurping monster!

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


my back yard~

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


more snow ~

I know... it's a double post day!

It really is a beautiful day with all this fresh new snow ... so I thought I'd post a few more pics of it.

my back yard

my flower bed alongside the drive way

looking down my driveway

looking across the driveway

trees and more snow!

Hopefully, this is the last snow storm for March ... but I doubt it.  I really do love snowy days ~ and it's a good thing, because we sure have enough of them!  I just get a little stir crazy sometimes when winter drags on ... as my prior posts have indicated.  I think what gets me the most is that winter just last soooooooooo long here.  I love the four distinct seasons that we have here in northern WI; but it would be nice if they were more evenly spaced.  Oh well ... nothing I can do about that ... so I'll just enjoy each day as it is ... after all ... This is the day The Lord has made ~ let us rejoice and be glad in it!

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

in wisconsin~

It's winter in Wisconsin
And the gentle breezes blow,
70 miles per hour at 52º below.
Oh, how I love Wisconsin
when the snow's up to your butt,
you take a breath of winter air -
your nose; it freezes shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave Wisconsin,
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground!

I know you heard that poem before ... and now you just read it again.  How cool is that!!!

It's still snowing.  Great big, beautiful snowflakes ~  and all my snirt (snow and dirt) is now replaced with great big, beautiful snowflakes ... with the exception of one little patch on the snow bank in my yard.
It's not that cold out ... we had 20 F. degrees this morning ... but it is windy.  Still with the windchill ~ I still think we're hovering around 0 .  It's when it dips below zero that makes me cold.

I grabbed the camera this morning and got a few shots of Slim shoveling ~ he didn't think it was funny ... in fact, he told me if I didn't get dressed and come out there to help him the shovel might end up some place unpleasant ... lol ... now whatever did he mean by that!?!

the butt side of a shoveler
the side view of a shoveler
the back side of a shoveler
hand view of a shoveler
knee deep view of the shoveler

 and it's still snowing ... I did go out and help ... I cleaned off the truck for him

What else is going on around here ....
Last weekend Dear Hubby and son were able to get out and do a little fishing together ... which I'm glad they were able to do. They don't get to do much "bonding" these days.   Now with all this snow again ... I don't know if they'll be able to go again or not.  They did catch a nice bucket full of crappies.

I've been baking again ... now that I have a working oven ... but things are changing around here.  I'm not baking like I used to.  I am TRYING to healthify everything ... cutting back on the fats and sugars and carbs.  

I had such a chocolate craving yesterday ... and found this recipe on cooksrecipes dot com for Cocoa Muffins.  I know, more muffins, what's up with that ... another foodie craving I've been going through.  Of course, I had to tweek it and make it my way.  I'm posting the original recipe that I had; but when I made it I used half the amount of white flour and used some wheat flour and replaced the sugar with Splenda.  I also used sea salt instead of the regular salt, applesauce in place of the yogurt and buttermilk in place of the regular milk, and I omitted the powdered sugar sprinkling at the end ... so really ... my recipe isn't anything like the one I'm posting.  Haha .. what can I say!  They're not too bad tasting though, if I say so myself.

Cocoa Lowfat Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
2/3 cup lowfat or nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional)

 1. Heat oven to 400F or 205C degrees.  Line muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl,stir together flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, milk and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix in just until combined.  Do not over mix.
4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool slightly in pan on wire rack.  Remove from pans.
6. Sprinkle powdered sugar over tops of muffins, if desired.  Serve warm.  Store, covered, at room temperature or fereeze in airtight container for longer storage.

Makes 12 muffins.

I also came up with another recipe of my own ... 

EGG BREAD (makes 1 loaf)

3/4 cup of warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda(sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large egg yolks slightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups flour
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Add the Splenda, salt,egg yolks and olive oil.  Stir in the flour.  Knead to a soft dough.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Punch the dough down and shape into a loaf.  Put in pan and let rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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


brain cells are slushing up~

It might be spring-like weather somewhere ~ but not here in northern Wisconsin ...

We're sitting in that 8-12" range for predicted snowfall by tomorrow morning.  Yippee!  I knew we put the shovel away too soon.  Now I have to go and dig it out of the shed and get it closer to the door once again... so I can trudge through the snow and slush and whatever else may get dumped on us in the next 24 hours.

Day before yesterday, when Dear Hubby and I were carrying the shovels into the shed; he was telling me it was too soon ... I hate it when he's right.... grrrr....  I made the smart aleck remark that if we did get anymore snow ~ it would probably just be a dusting or so ... yes ... it's a dusting coming our way ... about a foot's worth of it. 

I just love winter!  I hope it never goes away!  I don't want to see grass and have to deal with mowing it ~ I hope it stays below 40 degrees for the rest of the year.  I don't need to plant a garden or see pretty flowers where all this snow sat covering them up for the last six months ... no ... not me ... I LOVE winter.

Do you think my reverse psychology worked?  Did my brain just fall for it?  Help?  I'm losing my mind!!  I think my brain cells are freezing ... and turning to slush. 

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


snirt and hypertufas~

I'm in the mood for gardening ~ but all we have outside is snirt (snow and dirt).  Winter is just dragging on too long in my neck of the woods!  The snow is going down; but it's all yucky and dirty looking.  I'm ready for a good rain to wash it all away.

I'm also feeling creative ~ but don't know what to do.  I don't feel like painting.  I already put four loaves of homemade rye bread in the oven ~ and don't feel like doing anything more in the kitchen.  I want to do some gardening in my flower beds; but they're still buried under all the snirt.

Maybe I'll go and find a bag of cement ... I'm sure I must have some tucked away somewhere ... doesn't everybody? ... and make up some hypertufa pots.  I already have a good collection of them started; but I don't think you can have too many of them.  The photos I have here are from last year.  

I just LOVE hypertufa!  Of all the flower pots I've made ... I've only had one break on me ... and that was one that I dropped ... so technically, it was operator error ~ not construction error.

What is hypertufa?  Well I'm glad you asked.  It's just a mixture of 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 2 parts peat moss or pearlite, stirred together with water and formed into a container ... dried ... and presto ... a flower pot.  They're really easy and fun to make; but be forewarned ~ it's also a messy process.  If you do it ... make sure you wear rubber gloves, because the cement can be pretty harsh on bare hands.  If you do a google search you can find all kinds of recipes for it.

They are such sturdy pots ... they hold up under any weather condition.  I've had some that have sat outside through the freezing winters and none of them have cracked.  PLUS ... a huge bonus, especially around here ... they are dog proof! ... Sam's pooch, Rambo can't destroy them like he does my plastic flower pots.

  It's also the same recipe that I used when I made my rhubarb leaf bird bath.

Yes... I am soooooooooo ready for spring and warmer weather ~ so I can get outside and dig in the dirt ... without snow, and plant my succulents into hypertufas. 

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


oatmeal raisin muffins ~

I baked !  I know ... it's been awhile.  It's been a long winter and I haven't been doing much baking ~ making all those comfort foods that put on the pounds ... yet ... I'm still well insulated. lol

Today though, I decided it was time to bake something.  Something healthy, yet comforting ... AND ... I needed to check out the new element put in my oven to see make sure it was working.  That's the REAL reason why my baking has been put on the back burner.  My oven needed a new thing-a-ma-jiggy put in it so it would work again.

I made muffins!  Oatmeal Raisin Muffins ~ and I used my old olD oLD OLD heavy cast iron muffin tins.  Last year my daughter Staci gave me two of them that she found at an estate sale.  I LOVE them!

makes: 1 doz.
350 degree oven  30 min.

1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
1/2 Cup melted Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar or Brown Sugar Twin or Splenda Substitute
1/2 tsp. Orange Extract 

1 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line or grease 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups.  

Combine the rolled oats, buttermilk, egg, butter and brown sugar.  
Add the orange extract.
Add the dry ingredients ~ flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Stir in the raisins.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


When I made these today, I forgot to add the baking powder ( I know... but that's how forgetful I am) ... and they still turned out really good.  They would have rose a little better, I'm sure, if I had remembered it.  None the less ~ they're delish and they'll still get eaten.  BUT ... more important ... MY OVEN WORKS!! Yippee!

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



This morning ...
there were 3 pine (red) squirrels chattering up a storm ...  as if to say, "quit looking at me!"

If I hold really still ... maybe she won't see me.

Rats! She spotted me.

 I don't think she sees me?
Nope .. she doesn't see me ... just hold really still ... maybe she'll leave us alone.
She's still looking at me!
Hide your face!!! She can't see you then!
Oh no ... now she's looking at me!

Quick ... run for your life!
I can't !!  She's still looking at me!!

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



Psalms 46:1-3

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.


It's so hard to believe the devastation that has taken place on our Earth; but we still must hold on to our belief that God will see us through.  

Please keep the families in your prayers for all the people who are facing such tragedies as the horrible earth quake and tsunami in Japan.  Pray for the children and parents.  Pray for the countries leaders to come together with the help from others to give them relief.  Please pray for the rescue efforts that are taking place to bring some sense of calm back into their lives.  


I saw a very encouraging sign of spring yesterday ~ looking down stream off the DeMar's Bridge on the Flambeau River.  If you notice the two little blobs of white to the right of the ice on the river ... those are swans.  I know... not the best picture; but that's what they are!

Here's a shot of them flying away around the bend in the river~

none the less ...
The swans are coming back ... and it's encouragement to me about warmer days in the future.   It's starting to feel like spring!

Did you remember to turn your clocks ahead?

Also ... 
just for fun I thought I'd show you a few of my brother's cows ... lol   They were standing out by the fence line along side the road ... just begging for their pictures to be taken ... or not.

This guy has a dirty little face compared to the fresh white snow. lol

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