Happy Day! Happy Dance!

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Celebrate with me or with us and do a little happy dance.  Mr. Blue Eyes has finished the wood project.  Yay for him.  The weather, rain and  extreme cold, friend’s agenda and bad back, as well as extreme hardness of the red oak, etc. all worked against him.  He has finished and hauled the log splitter back to friend’s home.  Clean up and moving it to the log stack took a day or so, as well.  We’ve been having a nice fire in the late afternoons and evenings with stacked wood from last year’s harvest since it has been so cold lately.

Mr. Blue Eyes is working in our bedroom painting the ceiling and walls and removing the carpet, under the carpet he discovered oak hardwood.  It is in good condition; but, does need to be sanded and refinished with a darker color.  I am so very glad to have carpet out of 2 bedrooms, the hallway, dining room, and little den.  Still need to remove it from 1 bedroom, living room, and possibly the sunroom.  Haven’t decided on what type of flooring to use in the sunroom.  The carpet needs pulled up and then some type of flooring to replace it.

Right now my hope is to get our bedroom painted and GET THE BR FURNITURE OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM!!!!!!!  I want to put our Christmas tree up and decorated, as well put up Christmas decorations.  We don’t do a lot of decorating, we both prefer older type decorations and not too many.  I have some things items that I would like to declutter from the attic.  I will offer them to our daughter and daughters in law, whom I think of as daughters.  I know that they are not going to want all that I want out of here and what they don’t want will go to a consignment shop.

The fire is dying and my eyelids are getting heavier by the minute, so I’m off the computer.

Good night everyone and sleep well.

Thursday 12/4 On The Homestead

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I’ve found myself pretty busy and tired most of this week.  I’ve enrolled in pulmonary rehab as ordered by my cardiologist at the Heart Failure Clinic.  I had to go on Tuesday,  Wednesday, and tomorrow.  Wednesday’s session was quite tiring and I didn’t do a lot afterwards.  But, I did make ham and bean soup, using some of our food storage.  In the fall we had pressure canned several varieties of dry beans.  I used some of the navy beans from the pantry.

Ham & Bean Soup

1 frozen smoked ham hock (or left over ham and bone, using as much ham as you like

I chopped onion

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 clove minced garlic

2 carrots, sliced

small amount olive oil

2 quarts home canned navy beans

2 – 3 cups ham stock, chicken stock, or water

1 Tbsp tomato paste (I freeze mine by Tablespoon in saran wrap and put into a zip freezer bag)

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf (I use fresh from my bay tree and slightly finger crush to release flavor)  Don’t crush a dried bay leaf, though.

Salt & pepper to your taste

Sauté onion, celery.  When they are becoming slightly soft and perhaps translucent, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds, don’t let it brown or burn.   Remove half of veggies to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to add in.

Add stock or water and tomato paste to 1/2 vegetables in pan along with bay leaf, thyme, and ham hock.  Liquid will probably not cover the ham hock, if it doesn’t, just turn ham hock over after an hour.  Bring to boil,  then simmer 2 hours.  I used a ham hock this time and when turning it over I slit it in several places to expose more of the meat to the stock.

After 2 hrs. add the complete 2 quarts of beans with the liquid in the jars, along with the reserved veggies.  Simmer another 1 1/2 hour and make sure beans are soft.  Remember they have been pressure canned; but, they may not have completely cooked in the canner.  If using dry beans, follow package instructions for soaking and cooking.  This will need to be finished and ready to add after the 2 hour simmer.  If using canned navy beans, will need at least 2 large cans, or 3 regular size cans  add at the end of initial simmer.  This will probably only take 45 minutes to simmer after adding.

When beans have 15 minutes left to simmer, taste and add salt and pepper, if needed, and continue simmering another 15 minutes.  I usually add some dried or fresh parsley at this stage.  It adds some vitamins and  makes it look prettier.

Serve hot and enjoy with some homemade bread, maybe purchased baguettes or another crusty bread.

Black Friday

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Were you out shopping among the masses for deals and door busters? If you were, I hope you found your items and got them at a good price. I am not knocking any of the Black Friday shoppers, at all. I’m just not one of them. We used to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving; but, then it was just the Friday after Thanksgiving. The stores were crowded with shoppers; but, no one was fighting for merchandise or any of the other things that have been shown on TV the last several years. It just looks too crazy for me and I’m not ever going to camp out to save my place in line to get through the door first for the door busters, no matter how good the deal. We have become more online window shoppers this weekend and then shop locally if we can. Oh, I admit, we do sometimes order online to get the best price and for items we can’t find locally. It happens sometimes.

Do you ask for Christmas wish lists? I do, I want to give folks what they are wanting, it might be something that I had not thought of giving them, etc. I think it makes giving so much easier. Now, it certainly doesn’t mean that they get all items on their list or I may get a good idea for something else that I know they would like just as well. We have a budgeted amount to spend and really don’t spend more than that. We also save to pay cash for shopping.

I spent the day by the cozy fire and just relaxed and was on the computer to accomplish some daily goals. Mr. Blue Eyes worked on his wood project in the back. He split most of the remaining logs and stacked a good bit of it in the new, to be seasoned area of the wood pile. It had been too cold and rainy to do outside work the past several days, so it continues. He really wants to get that chore done over this weekend so that he can move on to other projects or chores before winter arrives. There are a lot of leaves to blow back to the area where we are going to compost them with used coffee grounds, some pruning of the berry vines and ornamental shrubs, and finish putting the garden beds to bed for winter. Then he will work inside at finishing some of our renovations and putting down the wooden flooring in the kitchen and living room. We (actually he) has taken up the carpeting in the master bedroom and one of the guest rooms and discovered wonderful oak hardwood floors. They do need sanding and staining; but, worth it for the cost savings. He pulled up a bit of carpeting in the other guest room/stitching room and confirmed that we have the same flooring in there. Now, there is no hardwood in the living room, den, or kitchen, so we will have to do those floors. The nice thing is that we have all the flooring needed stacked in the sunroom. That’s where the tiles for the kitchen backsplash are stored. I keep telling myself “someday it will all be finished. There is still no mantle over the fireplace since it was torn off to install drywall after the paneling was removed. I am still trying to be patient, some days are harder than others. I’ve lived with unfinished projects for a long time now and am just hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There will be photos of finishes as they are done. Pray for patience for me, please.

I think I might bake some bread tomorrow. Yummy!

Affiliate Partners

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I do have several affiliate partners and will sometimes post a special offer, a free book for Kindle readers, or a product that you can purchase. You are able to click on an image or a link, on my blog, that will take you to that company’s site, where you may read or see product details. pricing, shipping, etc. You may order your item right on the company page or website, then they (the company) will have your order and payment information and the company will proceed with your order. After your order is processed, that affiliate partner will send me a small commission for advertising their product on my blog.

I will occasionally endorse or offer pros and/or cons on a product, available for purchase, that I personally own, have used, or have seen one of my personal friends use. This will be my opinion, no one else’s, and I do not get compensation for endorsing any product; therefore, will not influence my opinion.

My hope is that you will choose to order items via my page as any commission earned will support my blog and perhaps allow me to purchase other items that I might wish to review and possibly endorse. Thank you for clicking on images and links on my blog or my facebook page to order the item through the company. I appreciate you and all my readers. Some of my present affiliate partners: Amazon, Rose Mountain Herbs, various eBook authors, and I am adding others in the near future.

What’s Happening?

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Mr. Blue Eyes is almost finished with the wood splitting and stacking project. Our friend that was helping has a back problem and some of the pieces of the trunk are quite large and extremely heavy. Friend is also having a metal roof put on his house and there needs to be “supervision”. So Blue Eyes has been struggling alone and is now finished with the big pieces; although, he just cut and split today. He plans to finish the smaller pieces tomorrow and then stack it all. Pray it doesn’t rain until he’s finished. I guess red oak doesn’t cut or split very easily.

Yesterday, I was in the mood for potato soup for lunch. Neither of us usually cooks for lunch; but, I made myself potato soup. Mr. Blue Eyes isn’t fond of potato soup anytime, so I only make enough for myself. I decided before I started to make enough for at least 4 days. There’s no recipe for it that I follow, I lightly sauté about 1/2 cup diced onion or a small leek (but I didn’t want to go outside to pull a leek yesterday), 2 stalks celery, and when it is translucent I add 1 clove minced garlic, then add enough chicken stock to cover veggies. I like to make this soup fairly nutritious so add 1 diced carrot, a handful of minced or chopped up fresh spinach, and about a tiny handful of fresh parsley. Make sure the stock is covering the veggies. Throw in a slightly hand crushed fresh bay leaf from my bay tree, 1/2tsp dried thyme or 1 & 1/2 tsp fresh, salt (I use sea salt) and freshly ground pepper to taste. I added 3 medium diced potatoes and simmered this for 15 min or until vegetables are soft and tender, remove the bay leaf. I usually use an immersion blender to chop it all into a creamy soup texture. I always did this or used the blender when our children were small so they didn’t recognize the spinach or carrots. When blended well, I add milk and 1/2 & 1/2, taste for salt and pepper and add some real butter in amount I feel comfortable adding. May need to reheat depending on amount milk 1/2 & 1/2. I would/do dish it into bowls and always sprinkled fresh ground mixed pepper on the top, which disguises the little orange flecks that the children then thought they were from the pepper they liked and ate my potato soup.

Tonight’s dinner was creamed chicken, using leftover roast chicken that was frozen after a couple lunch sandwiches for MR. Blue Eyes. Anyway, he made the biscuits as he makes really good biscuits. Just used the basic, but unwritten, recipe for good old chicken a’la king and served over those delicious biscuits. He bakes good biscuits; but, I just can’t talk him into baking bread. LOL!

I’m Back!

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I know, I know.  I’ve been MIA for a few days.  I have been under the weather during those days.  I have done a few things during that time; but, basically I’ve really not done very much.

We made homemade pizza the other night.  I used a new dough recipe and followed the directions.  It turned out OK; but, next time I will cut the baking time a bit and if that doesn’t solve the problem I will decrease the oven temperature.  Maybe I should just decrease the oven temp first and watch it to see if I can adjust the baking time,  That is probably what I will do.  The crust was just a bit too brown for my taste.  Mr. Blue Eyes thought it was good as it was and I thought it too done.  Our home canned pizza sauce saved it since it is so good.  I will not post the recipe for the crust until I do some adjusting and we both like the results.  I forgot to take photos, again.  I will try it again and take those photos.

Mr. Blue Eyes is trying to figure out some new storage shelves for the pantry.  Can’t quite fit all the home canned goods in there.  And I still want to try my hand at pressure canning some beef, pork, and chicken.  He keeps telling me how good and tender his mother’s beef and pork were.  I think it would be a convenience when we forget to get something out of the freezer.

I have some greenhouse chores to do and won’t have time tomorrow.  I have an appointment in the morning and a haircut appointment in the afternoon.  Thank goodness for the hair cut appointment!  I really need that haircut, I’ve been having bad hair days too many of the those these last couple weeks.    Maybe I will get out to the greenhouse on  Wednesday. I have some repotting to do and want to plant some more onions, spinach, Swiss Chard, and carrots.   We have carrots, onions, lettuce, Arugula and escarole growing out there already.  Our fall garden is still looking good with kale, collards, carrots, beets, parsnips, Pok Choi, and cabbage.  Everything else has given up the ghost.  Of course, some of the herbs will do fine like the rosemary and  thyme.  We moved cilantro and parsley into the greenhouse, as well.