ornament update ~

There was no one home last night but little ol' me ~ which meant no distractions ~ which meant I was able to sit down and kick out the rest of the applesauce/cinnamon ornaments (recipe on prior post).

In answer to a few questions about these:

How long will they last?  Forever.
It is best to keep them between seasons in a sealed container.  They will retain their scent a long time.  I have some on a little wreath that hangs year round by my entry hall that have to be at least five years old.  If you just give them a very light mist of water once a year they seem to rejuvenate themselves.

What kind of paint do I use:  An oil-based marking pen.

They sell these paint pens in any craft store; but I prefer to buy them at a hardware store or in an automotive store. You can get them for half the price there versus a craft store.  They call them touch up pens.  They come in an array of colors.

Every recipe I've seen on making these ornaments say that you can use any kind of paint on them.  I beg to disagree with that.  I have painted them with water-based acrylics before; but they have a tendancy to fade out. They also say you can coat them with a light layer of polyurethane or varnish ... well ... to me that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever ... you'll lose the scent then of the cinnamon ~ locking it under the finish.  duh!! 

I've  seen recipes for this that say you should add white glue to the dough ... I personally don't see any reason for it.  Besides that ... these have to bake for a couple hours ... I don't want glue baking in my oven.  You don't have to use old cookie sheets either ~ they won't stain or stick.  If you have sil pats though for your baking sheets I do think that would be benificial ... you wouldn't have to grease the cookie sheet then.  

Just my opinion. 

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


apple/cinnamon ornaments ~

Today I made heart shaped applesauce and cinnamon Christmas ornaments ~ or I should say I started to make my applesauce/cinnamon ornaments.

Poor Dear Hubby ~ he got so excited when he came in from the garage and the aroma from the oven overcame him.  He thought for sure I started with my Christmas cookie baking.  That guy just loves his Christmas cookies!!

Unfortunately, these little delicacies are not edible ... but they sure do smell good :)

Here's the recipe: Yields 60 - 3" ornaments

2 Cups of Applesauce
1 Cup of ground Cinnamon

Mix together to form a dough.  Roll out on a floured board.  Cut with a cookie cutter.  Place on a lightly greased cooking sheet.  Use a straw to make a hole for hanging.  Bake 200 degrees for 2-1/2 hours until firm and dry. 

I got 68 little hearts out of my batch.  I might make up another batch of gingerbread men.

Now the fun part begins ... painting them and stringing them for the Christmas tree.  So far I only have 16 of them painted... but I'll get them done.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to string them with red ribbon or curly wire... maybe both.  Also, whether or not I'm going to hang them individually or possibly make a garland out of them.  They would also be cute tied on a gift.

No matter how I end up using them ~ I'm happy with the progress so far and my house smells like Christmas!

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


the domestic diva returns ~

I had no luck at the TajMelHal hunting the elusive white tail deer this year ... a repeat of last year :(  Oh well... I guess it just wasn't meant to be.  I have no regrets though; but some venison put in the freezer by me would have been a plus.  The guys (son and son inlaw) did get some meat though, so I'm not complaining. I'm sure they'll kick back a few packages of meat for me ~ since we were kind enough to let them process it here and Slim will be making some sausage later on and will be providing the pork etc... and the smoker for that.  We certainly won't starve because of it.

My time spent at the Taj was still memorable and something that I loved doing.  I did get to see a lot of partridge up close and chickadees, nut hatches, blue jays, squirrels and some does and fawns. Plus... I saw a weasel climb a tree! (photos on prior posts) That in itself was enough.  Plus ... big bonus ... the quiet time!

Sometimes I think it does the soul good to just have some quiet time to sit and contemplate over stuff, come to decisions, and reflect on cherished memories.  Every day out there I had such wonder thoughts of my Dad and the many hunts spent with him.  Also, so many thoughts of my sister Lana, who has passed on and the many hours of laughter that she bought to the family. Also, thinking back to the many holidays that we once spent with Slim's family before his parents and grandparents passed on.  His mother was a hoot!  While she was still living, and before I got into hunting, it was tradition that we would spend opening day of hunting season Christmas shopping.  She was like a hamster on steroids the way she could run those store aisles!  She'd have a photographic memory ... run through the mall on a look and seek mission then back track to get the best deals.  That gal was a master shopper if there ever was one.
It's cold out ... and we're covered with snow.

  Winter has hit the north woods with a vengence.  Last week we were in the 40's and this morning it was 8 degrees out.  Another reason that I'm grateful the hunting season has come to an end.   The guys were asking me if I wanted to keep on hunting ... it's muzzle loader season now for the next week.  I told them I'd consider it ONLY if the temps get into the double digits again... and preferably the first number has to start with at least a 2.

I'm so thankful the wood shed is full .. and just love seeing that smoke curling up to the sky. We'll go through about 30 cords of woods before spring.  Our outside boiler heats the house, the house water, and half of the 30x50 garage.  We could heat the whole garage because the whole thing is insulated; but we put in a divider wall and only heat the work shop area ... but it's still warm enough in the other side that the vehicles don't freeze up. 

So for now ... the hunting is over ... back to normal.  I have about 3 loads of laundry calling my name and a refrigerator that needs a good clean out.  Anybody want to come and do some domestic diva chores for me?  A little vacuuming, floor scrubbing, clean the porcelain throne, etc...

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


taj ~

I'm still at the Taj ~ no venison yet.

I'm taking today off from hunting ... maybe ... I'm hoping to get a few hours in right before dark if the girls show up to finish up the cooking of our Thanksgiving dinner which we haven't had yet.  Sara is suppose to come over later on so I think I'll be able to slip away.

I sure wish it would warm up.  This morning the thermometer was reading 15 degrees Farenheit ~ pretty chilly for my old bones.  What a difference in temps from the 40's we were in just 2 days ago.

Plus ... it snowed.

Here's a pic that the trail camera caught of me taking out a bucket of corn for the deer 2 days ago ... yes, it's legal to bait deer in our area.  Remember, we're living in the sticks here ~ no big corn fields out our back door. 

...  I didn't see any deer during the daylight hours but look what came in after I went home at 5:00 - a black bear ... but it was over 4 hours since I left the Taj.  I wish he would have come in during the day ~ I would have loved getting some picture of it with my camera. 
Notice the temperature ... it was still 42 degrees out.  I just knew those bear would be around and come out of their semi-state of hibernation with temperatures like that.  I'm sure they've curled up and are sleeping now though with this big Arctic Blast that is upon us.

Night before last around 10:00 p.m. the snow started and the temps dropped.
Notice the temp then ... it had already dropped to 28 degrees.  Why can't those darn deer come in during the daylight hours.  Oh well ... at least it was just the doe and fawns.  No big buck to make my heart go into palpitations.

Yesterday morning ... here's Sam putting out bait for me ... what a difference a day makes ~
I didn't hunt yesterday either ... Sam held down the fort for me ... no luck though. No big bucks for him either.

  Slim and I took a run to Marshfield, a couple hours drive from here to stock up on some groceries, to get us through our Thanksgiving that we're having today, and to get a huge mess of ingredients for cookies for Christmas.  We also had to make a stop at our Amish friends in Athens at the Beaver Creek bulk foods store and head over to Bletsoe's Cheese factory for some fresh cheese curds and blocks of cheese.  We Wisconsinites like our cheese!

What a savings though in the pocket book making the two hour drive ... it is so expensive by us for everything.  For example ... a simple stock of celery here cost us $1.89 down there I can get it for 49 cents a stock ~ yeast here $4.15 same amount down there $1.45 ... milk here $3.89 on a good day, down there $1.99 and that's just three simple examples.  Now talk about a huge cart full ... yes ... we'll drive 2 hours to grocery shop.

Okay... back to the TajMelhal.  Enough griping on the grocery prices.

Day before yesterday ... my patience prevailed and I FINALLY got a nice close up of some partridge, aka. ruffed grouse.  There were seven of them flitting around.

... catching a few rays of the sun
... trying to sneak past me ~
... pecking at some wintergreen leaves, lifts it's head up ... photo op ~

... so pretty ... look at those feathers ~ this is a young bird ... the older birds are more gray in color
... I love watching these amazing birds ~

and ... my favorite snapshot of the day ~

Now I need to get some pictures of them in the snow!

milestone: this was my 500th post on

I need to get a move on ... I have a 22 pound turkey to stuff and some pies that need to be made.  I also have to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ... I recorded it.  It's tradition.  Happy Thanksgiving a couple days late!

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


day 5 @ the Taj

Wow ... this week is going by so fast ... although the days seem to be dragging on.  How can that be?

Still no venison on the table for me.  I have been diligently trying to see something besides a partridge, bluejay, chickadee or red squirrel out at the TajMelHal; but no deer with my bullets name on it has been in my sights, as of today.  Maybe tomorrow will be the turning point? 

I did have a  doe and 2 fawns come in the other day ~ and a single fawn ... so I did see some deer; just not the big ol' buck I'm holding out for.  Slim actually went out and got a hunting license and is hunting tomorrow with the guys ~ something he hasn't done in 9 years.  I'm starting to develop a complex ... I'm thinking he's losing faith in his wife to put some meat on the table ... passing up on the does and fawns and all the partridge I've been seeing ... and pulling up and missing the spike on opening morning.  Seriously, I'm not shooting them ~ there's a bigger and better one out there for me to harvest.  Patience ... just a little more patience.

I did see a small weasel yesterday, chasing after the red squirrels.  I tried to take it's picture; but my cameras battery was flashing LOW and it didn't take. Of course, it stood up on a stump about 10 feet away from me posing just as cute as could be.  Also, when the camera was down a partridge was sitting there just as nice as could be too.  So... today I was ready with the camera, charging up batteries and carrying extras .. the partridge came in; but not as close as yesterday.

I saw four of them today ...
I also saw another weasel today ... in it's full winter white coloring.  This one was a full grown adult ~ almost twice the size of the one I saw yesterday.  Talk about a hard little animal to capture a picture of.  It darts around so fast in and out of the brush piles ... trying to capture the red squirrels or birds; which they prey on.

 ~ do you see one weasel or two? ~

 In the summer months the weasel is brown in color but turns white in winter, except for the tip of it's black tail.  They are also called ermine.  Usually, by this time of the year we have snow on the ground and they blend right in and can be really hard to see.

I wish I had a bigger zoom on the camera ~

The squirrels are going bonkers ~
and with good reason!

That was the first time I ever saw a weasel actually climb a tree that big.  I've seen them in smaller balsam and spruce trees ~ using the branches to pull itself up; but never a tree the size of this one.  It's a poplar tree, and doesn't have branches sticking out of it the first 20 feet up ~ the branches that you see are on the dead spruce tree directly behind it.  

I hope you have a wonder Thanksgiving.  I'll be out hunting ~ our family is having our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday - because it'll just work out better that day with the kids and other obligations that they have this year.  

Think of me as you're gnawing down on that turkey and filling your faces with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy.  Send me your leftovers :) or at least a pie!

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


@ the Taj ~

You won't be catching me at home the next few days unless I'm lucky enough to fill my gun/deer tag.  I'm sitting out @ the TajMelHal ... aka. my little hunting shack. the deer blind ... trying to put some venison on the table.  Dear Hubby hasn't hunted in 9 years ~ he leaves this little task up to me. 

This was my old shack that the bear ripped the door off of ~ it was very unstable, the floor was falling apart, huge cracks in the walls and very cold and drafty.

... and this is the TajMelHal ~ my new shack that my guys built for me last year:

 I know Jack ... don't look too close at the structure of it; the roof was a goof up  ~ but hey ... I'm not complaining... it serves it's purpose.  It's a LOT more comfortable than the old one.

Yes, I decided to join forces with the other 30,000 or so hunters out there in Wisconsin and try my luck.

Today was Day 2 of the 9 day season and so far my luck hasn't been too good.  I did shoot at a spike buck yesterday but my bullet hit a tree!  The deer ran away unscathed.  First time that ever happened.  I guess it just wasn't meant to be. 

Truth be told ... I regretted even shooting at the bugger and won't be doing that again.  He was too small and he was one of my regulars that comes in ... I seriously don't know what I was thinking!  I really think I subconsciously pulled up on the gun at the last second; because the bullet hit high and to the left of the deer.

 Last time I listen to the guys telling me what to do. 

I'll hold off and shoot one that I've never seen before like I originally planned.  Dang ... this hunting is hard on the subconscious.  I do want some venison; but I also want to see my deer in the area go unharmed.  Now I'm waiting on a big old rutty buck that is just traveling through that I've never met. Just because it's brown does NOT mean it's down in my book.  If the guys don't like my attitude about it ~ too bad. 

Just like up in my yard ... that is the safety zone ... NOTHING gets shot in the yard!!! Nothing.  Go out in the woods to do your harvesting.  Yeah ~ my back yard is wooded  and it's all woods beyond ... but you better be at least a half a forty acres away from it to do any shooting ... phew ... got that off my chest.

I have three blue jays that keep me company all day long ~ flitting around in the trees:

 ~ the female seems to have a dangling, injured leg ... 
I think it's from the wild feral cat that's been hanging around...

 notice ~ the female is duller in coloring than the male
 I also have some partridge that are hanging around the TajMelHal ... I enjoy watching the birds ~ it makes the day go by so much faster.

Talk about camouflage coloring ...

... do you see it?
I'll zoom in ...
DRATS ... look what's after the partridge ... that dang cat ~
I'm sure he's the reason for the injured blue jay too.  I've seen this cat up by the house a few times now stalking the birds on the feeder ... Mom has also seen it over by the farm.  It's wilder than the dickens and Mom's afraid it's going to go after her chickens.  hmmm... did that rhyme?  

I also had a chickadee land on my opened TajMelHal window sill today ...  but I was too slow with the camera ... but I did get a snap of this wood pecker in the tree right out the window:


Slim and Sam told me tonight I'm never going to shoot a deer if I keep bird watching and reading a book while I'm hunting.  That may be true ~ but if I keep seeing this feral cat ...

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


another normal day ~

Have you ever been face to face with an angry raccoon?  I mean really FACE to FACE ~ like within inches of an angry, scared, I'm gonna chew you up raccoon.

Being the trappers wife I have come across some pretty strange predicaments traveling with that man of mine.  A few days back he had a raccoon in a trap.  It was caught by just it's toe and it could have easily pulled out; but it didn't.  The raccoon was small and Dear Hubby wanted to release it.  Normally he has a catch pole that he uses for that purpose.  I'm sure you've seen them before ~ if not in person on some TV show where you see the dog catcher slipping one on a dogs neck.  It's a very humane way of catching and releasing an animal. 

Notice ~ I said 'normally' this is how he goes about releasing animals; but not this time.   This time, I imagine because it was raining and it was too far to walk back to the truck (about 20 feet) ... AND ... since Dear Wifey (me ... the love of his life)  was along he figured I could give him a little assistance in it's release.

  Okay ... I'm game dear ~ what do you want me to do?? My first mistake.  He says, "help me find a crotch stick".  He grabs a limb from a tree laying on the ground with a Y in the branch ~ the slang for it is a 'crotch stick'.

 How it's used to release an animal ~ you slip the Y over the animals head and hold it firmly to the ground so it can't squirm around and fight, then you simply slip the trap off.  Releasing the stick, the animal runs off unharmed.  

Well ... on our first attempt to hold down the coon, the coon takes a bite at the stick and one of the uprights on the Y breaks off.   Time for Plan B. 

Now... normally ... wouldn't you think Plan B would be to walk back that 20 feet to  the truck and grab the catch pole?? 


Plan B was find a bigger stick.  AND ... have me hold that squirming, hissing coon down while he released it. 

BUT ~ Plan B failed miserably.

As I went to put pressure on the bigger stick, to hold him down, the stick breaks.  Down I fall ~ face to face ... within inches of this snarling, lip smacking, teeth clacking, hissing, clawing raccoon.  AND to top it off ~ as I'm laying there in the rain, in fear of getting gnawed on I get the most humongous cramp in the right cheek of my butt and down to the back of my knee that I've ever had.  I couldn NOT get up. 

I'm laying there, writhing in pain, Slim has already released the raccoon, as it was distracted at trying to figure out how to attack me; but it still didn't take off.  The coon is ticked and he's hissing like crazy, it's really really ticked off and unaware that it's even free to run away.  All it's thinking about is getting me.

 Slim is yelling at me ... "move! move! he's gonna bite ya!"  I'm yelling back ... "I CAN'T MOVE I HAVE A CRAMP IN MY ASS!!"  Slim then ... in the calmest voice ever ... says, "seriously?"  "HELL YEAH SERIOUSLY! HELP ME!!"  Now, I'm in a real panic.  I closed my eyes and was just waiting for it to happen.  I just knew that coon was going to be on me in a matter of micro seconds and was going to gnaw up my face. 

As I'm laying there, for what seemed an eternity ... as if time was moving in slow motion ... Slim starts laughing!! "Oh Baby ~ I wouldn't let that coon eat you up.  Open your eyes.  I'd jump him and wrestle him off you if I had too.  It's safe.  He's gone off."  Boy, that sure didn't sound very sincere,  it sounded rather sarcastic if truth be told. 

I open my eyes, he's not gone ...  he's now sitting about five feet away from me hovered down in a small hollow by a stump.  Actually looking pretty harmless and more scared then anything now. 

After Slim chased the raccoon off a bit further, at my insistance, he finally helps me up and back to the truck ... still laughing.

  That was four days ago and my hind quarters still hurts!  I guess when you pull a muscle in the gluteus maximus  my size it'll take a few days to settle down.  As for my helping Dear Hubby by holding a crotch stick for him in the near future ~ not happening!  We'll see how long he keeps laughing over this one.

Another normal day.

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



I'm revamping the blog look ... please bear with me for a bit as the look may be changing :)

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



I'm a foodiholic ~ I like good food and I like good alchohol :)

This has been my week ~ of both!

Friday night Dear Hubby saved me the task of cooking (which I also love doing).  We went out for the Wisconsin traditional Friday Night Fish Fry.  Off to Glidden we went to the Green Lantern.

The Green Lantern is a very clean, unique little place.  It's all decorated in antiques.  The table, chairs, linens, glasses, plates, water pitchers, salt & peppers ... ALL of it ~ are all old, mix-matched pieces. The bar in the basement is made of stone, it's decorated with old 45 records hanging from the ceiling, old band instruments hanging from the walls by the jukebox.... LOVE IT ALL ... and they serve up my Mt Royal Lite and Diet Coke in a BIG tumbler ... and I don't even have to ask for it to be served that way ~ BONUS :) 

The staff is super friendly and we have never ever ever had a bad dining experience there - except for the one time they only had one afterdinner mint left in the candy dish, that sits by the counter when you leave for the guest to help themselves to, and Slim and I were prepared to arm wrestle for it.  Thank God the staff noticed and refilled it before it got ugly.

~image from the internet~

I just love Teresa's fish fry ~ you get three huge pieces of cod or haddock, choice of potato (I had the sweet potato mash, Slim had the hashbrowns) and salad bar ... and it's only $8.99.   Of course, Slim had to follow everything up with his bowl of butter pecan ice cream.
~image from the internet~

~image from the internet~

Then last night ... to continue our obsession with food we headed off to Mercer, WI to one of our favorite little restaurants in all the world ... where they serve authentic German food, The Pines.  Dear Hubby's family has known this family for many years ~ ever since the original owners opened it on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.  It is now run by their daughter and her husband. 

~image from the internet~
~image from the internet~

Margie cooked up our all time fave ~ Wiener Schnitzel und Spaetzel und Potato Dumplings with a side of Red Cabbage   ... OMG... to die for.  I'm telling you ... if I would have died last night in my sleep ~ I'd of gone with a smile on my face!  On my bucket list ... get the schnitzel recipe from her.  I've had Wiener Schnitzel in other restaurants but they don't even come close in flavor to that served at The Pines.

Now ... to continue on with my foodie obsession ... I have to go and get myself prettied up.  Slim is fishing this morning and when he gets home he'll be ready for breakfast.  It's the last day of his vacation and he doesn't know it yet; but ... there's a new restaurant in town and I heard through the grapevine that they serve a pretty good chicken fried steak.  Think he'll take me there if he walks in and doesn't see that I cooked?

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