happy halloween ~

Happy Halloween ~

Starting top left to right:  the Lion ~ my brother Randy, the Little Green Elf ~ my BIL (Lana's hubby) Danny, the Lamb ~ my brother Doug, the Devil ~ my brother Eric, the Tootsie Roll ~ my sister Darla, the Pea Pod ~ my BIL (Linda's hubby) Jim, the Bear ~ my Dear Hubby Slim, the Pirate ~ my BIL (Colleen's hubby) Mike, the Frog ~ my sister Linda, the Lil Giants Football Player my BIL (Darla's hubby) Bill, the Gingerbread Man, my SIL Angie, the Monkey ~ my sister Colleen, the Pig ~ my BIL (Cheryl's hubby) Thom, the Cat ~ my sister Cher, the Zebra ~ ME, the Bunny ~ my sister Lana.

This was one of my scrapbook pages from 2008 that I put together.  It was a lot of fun doing it.   I know some of you may have seen this pic before ~ but here it is again :)  Isn't it fun having a blog ~ you can put up what you want, when you want, even if you did it before.

Are you ready for the little trick or treaters?  I don't get too many kids here ... possibly a few of the small great nieces and nephew and a couple of the neighborhood kiddos.  Non the less, I do have little goodie bags made up just in case.

I didn't go the candy route this year ... instead I'm giving out Pumpkin Poop (cheese balls) and Ghost Poo (marshmallows).

 Have a safe Halloween ~ and if you have trick or treaters in your family, make sure you inspect the candy before letting them eat it ... and send me all the Butterfingers and Snickers (they cause tooth decay).  I don't want you to have to deal with the expense that the Tooth Fairy can rack up.  Yes, I will do you that favor, I will personally run the risk of decaying my own teeth at your expense, I will eat their candy for you.  Just sneak it out of their goodie bag, put it in a box and mail it to me.  

 AND - because it's still October AND because it's still Breast Cancer Awareness month (did you get your boobies squeezed? It could save your life! ) I just couldn't resist posting this:


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


mo betta ~

As my Daddy would say, "I'm mo betta."

I walked out the door this morning to go fill the outside wood stove ~ and what shall I see ~ my little ol' friend looking back at me :)

This yearling is in the yard every day.  It has been grazing on the new clover coming up across the driveway where we had to dig up the septic system.  


We've been living here since November 1998 ~ our little corner of heaven on earth.  Our home is situated on a five acre plot of land that we bought from my Dad.  It was heavily wooded with balsam, that we spent the summer of '98 clearing to put in the house and garage.  The garage we built ourselves and had constructed before the house came.

Our house was suppose to be a prefab home (factory built) coming in two sections to be assembled on the property.  Well as our luck would have it - the company that was contracted to build our home went on strike that summer ... and guess who's house was on the line?  Yeppers... ours.  

We weren't too happy with that.  There were a lot of disgruntled workers out there while it was on the line, and they were working on our house.  Who knows what they were doing to it??  Then there were scabs coming in working that didn't know diddly squat about building a house.  It wasn't a good situation all around and we pulled out of the deal with the company.

Our contractor then took our blueprints to another company which also did prefab homes.  It took six months longer than intended but we got a better deal out of it.  The second company wasn't set up in the factory to "pre-fab" the house so they basically took our blueprints and started from scratch and "stick built" our place.  

It still came to us on a couple of big semi-trailers in sections and had to be set by a huge crane; but the quality of the materials used were much better than we had originally hoped for ... (and paid for :)

I was flipping through one of my photo albums ~ here's some pics. Sorry about the quality of them, camera flash and glare.

 ~ I love looking out my window and seeing deer.  My yard is the "safety zone" ... absolutely NO HUNTING allowed in it.   Our first winter here we had a lot of deer that would come in and browse our yard.  Yes, we harvest critters during the season; but NOT from the yard!  There is one exception though that I have made over the years.  Red squirrels ~ when they become too populated ... and after they ate the air conditioner out of my car to the tune of $480 dollars.  We did eliminate 23 of them in 3 days ... and we still have red squirrels around ~ just not as many.

We lucked out on the weather that year too ~ it didn't snow until the week after the house came.

 ~ the canning shelves even managed to get filled that year too ~

... all the interior work ~ finishing off the basement, spa room, basement family room, bedroom, all the balsam, spruce, cedar and tamarack paneling we cut and made ourselves.

It has been a lot of work over the years ~ but well worth it.  We've had trials and tribulations (still do at times) - who doesn't ~ but as Daddy always said, "I'm mo betta."

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today.  My Dad has been on my mind a lot lately ~ it's been five years since his passing and I really REALLY miss him.   I can't even type anymore ~ crying so hard as I post this.  He was always my rock  ~ I could go to him with everything.  

~ Update ... a few hours later ... NOW I'm much "mo betta".  I had a good cry ... not just over missing my Dad ~ but over a LOT of the stuff that has been going on in our lives lately.  My stress level it seems has been maxed out.  I said a few prayers and I truly do feel better.   When all else fails ~ turn it over to the Lord ... should have done that sooner ~ well actually, I did; but I guess I just didn't give it time to sink in to count my MANY MANY blessings sooner and to open my eyes and realize that it's a beautiful day.  

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.


been awhile ~

Hi there! Where were you?

I hate starting a post with apologies for not being on here as faithfully as I would like to be; but gosh darn it ... I'm sorry I've been unable to post.  I've just been so dog gone busy with stuff - a lot of which I don't think should be my problem to tend with; but what will be will be.

Some things going on ~

Our eighteen year old granddaughter moved in with us late August, a lot of adjusting still seems to be in order, Sam smashed his fingers in the wood splitter yesterday, he'll heal, granddaughter started bartending a few weeks back at a not so reputable establishment, not liking that, granddaughter quit bartending, found a better job at St. Croix Rods painting fish poles, happy about that, went to Dorchester to pick up the pig we had butchered, rendering down lard, Slim is packing up for his trapping expedition which starts tomorrow, I'm feeling short tempered and stressed,

crocheted tee shirt rag rug ~ in progress

I'm cutting up old tee shirts into strips and crocheting them into a rag rug, don't care what colors they are, it's going in the Taj Mel Hall, my hunting shack, I have a batch of venison jerky going in the dehydrator,

need to make up some cookies for Slim to take along trapping, granddaughter and her friend were in a roll over accident last week when it was raining so hard, totaled the truck, she fell out the window during the roll over, she's okay, healing from a compression fracture in her back, swollen ankle and heel, lacerations on her hand, she's off work until doctor releases her for work, friends stopping in all hours of the day and night to see her, Grandpa Slim is short tempered from lack of sleep, he still hasn't adjusted to having her live here, seems like he's taking the brunt of his frustrations out on me, but we'll persevere and get through this, I'm not running a restaurant here, lost my cool today and fed the fried potatoes and fish and a hot dish to the dog, dog was happy, rest of the bunch not as happy as the dog, they can go to a restaurant to eat today, I fell down the seven deck steps three days ago, bruised up my back, moving slower; but I'm fine, bough cutting is over with, other granddaughters and daughter stopped in today, gave second grandlove a hair trim that she asked for, apparently I cut off too much, it's too short, she wasn't happy, her sister takes the scissors and cuts off an eighth of an inch more, all is fine, I can't please anyone today, the federal chickens are in the yard again,
stopped in yesterday and helped my daughter with a few things unloading her car, her and her hubby moved into my brothers house, my brother moved in with mom, I can't sleep because of our too firm mattress which has been an bother for some time now, brother let me use his box spring and mattress for time being, sleeping much better, and I could go on and on and on about a few more things but it won't solve anything so I'll ...


 Wowsers ~ talk about a run on sentence!  

So how's your world treating you :) 

Ever have one of those days?

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


boughing to America ~

I have been so busy ~ now I'm waiting for the big snow storm that will put us housebound ... maybe then I'll slow down some; but I doubt it.

Dear Hubby and I have been cutting balsam boughs.  A balsam bough is the end of the branch - average around 20 inches.  The buyers are very picky on the quality of the boughs they buy.  They can't have any sign of disease such as balsam bug, balsam rust, or yellowing.  They can't be harvested before 3 hard frost or they will drop their needles.  They can't be harvested from too old of a tree or too young.  There are things to know before going out and hacking up the trees.  You need to know where on the trees to cut so you don't kill the trees and so more boughs will grow for future harvest ... careful, selective pruning. I guess over time ... I have been become quite experienced on the subject of balsam boughs; but will spare you the details. 

  Here's a scrapbook page from a few years back ~ but it still shows what we've been up to:

  We cut the balsam boughs from the trees, tie them into bundles .. which average around 40 pounds a piece .. and haul them off to the wreath maker where they are turned into wreaths and garland for decoration during the Christmas season.  Depending on where we sell the boughs (which sell by the pound) they usually end up at JC Pennys, Menards, Home Depot or Fleet Farm, also they go to fill Boy Scout orders and orders from various schools, fund raiser organizations, Knights of Columbus, etc...  They are shipped all across the USA.   We really don't care where they go once they leave us ~ we just like getting the paycheck for cutting them :) 

It's not a hard job ~ just labor intensive and your body feels it at the end of the day.  So far the weather has been cooperating and it hasn't been too cold or wet out. 

Dear Hubby and I have been doing this during the wreath making season our whole married life - 36 years already.  I even used to make the wreaths for sale; but have given that part of the job up.

This year ... I must admit ... we both have slowed down ... BIG TIME!!  We both were grumbling yesterday whether or not it was really worth it ... but then came to the conclusion that YES ... besides the paycheck, we're both spending time together doing something that we both love ... being outside in the fresh air and getting some much needed exercise.  So ~ despite the grumbles and tumbles (I just can't walk on uneven ground anymore) we'll both be out there when we can during the wreath making season cutting boughs.

In two days we've come in just short of a few pounds of half a ton.  No wonder my arms and back ache. Getting my flu shot the other day didn't help matters either ~ that dang nurse rammed that needle in me all the way through to the next county!  I've never had such a sore arm from a shot before.

So if you buy a fresh balsam wreath during the holidays ~ maybe, just maybe it was cut by me :)

Boughing to America!

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


tis the season ~

Migration is going on full bloom for the birds ~ flocks of geese can be heard both day and night - they're getting out of here when the getting's good. Time to head south to warmer weather.   Last night was a feather ruffler.  It was very windy and along with the wind blew in the snow.  Yes ... I said the "S" word.  We got our first dusting of snow.

I think Mr. Robin wasn't too happy with it this morning either.  I'm sure the worms are crawling south too.  Time to fly away from here Mr. Robin before we get more of the white stuff.

Yesterday we spent some time in the woods ~ bringing in some more firewood.  Dear Hubby uses our 4-wheeler like a skidster.  Hooking a chain on to the log then pulling it out to the trail where we have a trailer waiting to cut it up and haul it home.
A trailer load at a time ... cleaning up the woods yet from the tornado mess 3 years ago ... but the woodshed is full for the winter :)  Free fuel ~ it sure beats having to buy gas to heat the house and garage ... and no electric hot water bill either ... the outdoor wood stove heats all our water too.

 More pics from yesterday ~ out in the woods.

This pretty little Gray-cheeked Thrush was a curious little bugger.  He kept hopping around us the whole time while we were making wood.

There are quite a few of them around right now too ~ on the migration route to warmer weather for the winter months.  They migrate from Canada all the way down to Central and South America. 

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


sigh ~

It's over ~ in a matter of 24 hours my green lawn has turned to gold.  The leaves on the maple trees have fallen.

Winter is on it's way.  It's been a busy summer and fall for me ~ a lot of gardening and canning and freezing and dehydrating of the fruits and vegetables. 

Today I finished up with the applesauce.  I did it the old fashioned way, like my momma and her momma before her ... with the apple sauce sieve.  There's just something about rolling that wooden pestle in the palm of your hand and watching the warm pulp of the apples drip to the bowl below ... sigh.

I cooked the apples with the peelings on ~ leaving a pretty pink tint to the sauce.
Total - 28 pints.

Today was also my fishing day ~ catching the gold fish and transferring them from the Black Lagoon (the big Rubbermaid stock tank that sits at the bottom of my waterfalls) and putting them in the aquarium in the house for over winter.
~ this pic is from  early summer when I was working on it ... putting in plastic barrels cut in half for the waterfalls and before I had all the rocks set to camouflage the barrels ~

What a project that was!  I had five gold fish in there and 25 frogs that decided to take up residency over the summer.  I only had to catch seven of them today ... I've been trying to net a few out each day and was carrying them down to the pond to release them.  But I think for everyone I caught and released it came back and brought along it's brother and sister to check out the new digs.

What a pain in the butt getting those buggers out of there.  I think next year I'm going to have to set up some kind of netting or something.  Last year I had that trouble too with the frogs moving in ... plus a half dozen mud turtles that decided to call the Black Lagoon home. 
Oh well ... never a dull moment around here.
Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


recipe experiment ~

I love cooking ... baking ... experimenting with recipes and trying something new.  So ... what to do with that jar of mock pineapple in the refrigerator?

I know ... make a pineapple upside down cake BUT do it my way ~   I'm calling this recipe:


To start  ~ I took a jar of the zucchini ~ which I previously turned into pineapple ... mock pineapple.  I drained off the juice.

I then took my cake pan and added some melted butter, brown sugar ... topped that with the zucchini/pineapple and a few chopped up maraschino cherries ~

Then I separated three eggs.  Yolks in one bowl, whites in another.

Into the bowl of yolks I added 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3/4 cup of flour, 2 Tblsp. of butter, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tblsp. baking powder and gave that a whirl with the electric mixer until I had a nice crumble:
In the bowl of egg whites I added another Tablespoon of sugar and gave that a whirl with the mixer until they were nice and frothy and formed a soft peak:

 Then the marriage of the two ~ the crumbles and the whites:
A gentle folding together:
Then on to the top of the cake pan of goodies ~ sort of a crumbly meringue : 
Into the oven preheated to 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  It came out all toasty looking and smells divine:)

Now granted ~ I could have stopped right there ... but no ... I have plans for that cake.

I get out a kitchen towel and sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

Lots of powdered sugar!
Then in one brave move ... I dump the hot cake out ~
... yum ... it looks pretty enough to eat right now... I hope I'm not going to make a big mess of this ... oh well ... too late to turn back now.

 I grab the end of the towel and roll that bugger up ...

I waited for it to cool down a bit ~ about 10 minutes ... then flip it out onto my cake plate:

I couldn't resist ... I had to cut it in half to see what it looked like:

... mmmm.... mmmm....good

It was delish!  Another recipe experiment ... gone right :) 

I'll make a Not Yo Momma's Pineapple Upside Down Cake Roll  again but next time I think I'll use a jelly roll pan instead of a 9x13 standard cake pan.  It was a little tricky rolling it being that thick.

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


fall ~

Have I mentioned how much I love this time of the year?  I think this post will qualify as a photo overload :)

Let's take a walk in my backyard.

... another tree in the yard ~

... a blue jay in the tree ~

... pretty Staghorn Sumac ... I'll have to pick some of those berry clusters ~
... a Ladderback Woodpecker  and a Nuthatch on the tree ~

... a Lesser Nuthatch in the bird bath ... notice the difference in color ... the Lesser Nuthatch has a more golden stomach and isn't as brilliant in coloring as the Greater Nuthatch.  Also notice the sunflower sprouting from the piece of driftwood; no doubt from a seed wedged in there from the nuthatches or chickadees ~

... pretty little Chickadee ~

... fly away ~ so the nuthatch can sit for a spell ~

... a little walk down the bear trail ... this path is down in the woods off  the edge of our lawn ... a path that has been there for generations ... made by the critters ... it is so worn it looks like it's man made; but it's not ... I remember my Dad pointing this trail out to me when I was just a little girl ~

 ... some Trailing Princess Pine ~

... you pull one piece and the rest will follow ~

... some regular Princess Pine ~
I'll have to pick some of this too ... it'll go great with the sumac berries ~

... and pumpkins  ... in the whiskey barrel planters beside my door ~

Thanks for taking another stroll around my yard ... Have a wonderful day!!

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