Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Down

It's amazing how quickly work around the house can stop when one householder is down.

Husband hasn't been feeling well and had a bit of a fever a few days ago. On Thursday evening we had company and when they left Husband says "Can you please drive me to the hospital". Um, what? He never even goes to the doctor! Things apparently had progressed for the worse over the evening, though he didn't look particularly ill. Luckily the emergency ward wasn't overly busy and he was in and out fairly quickly.... diagnosed with either a bladder or prostate infection. Ouch! He has been sitting and watching football, hockey and movies ever since - and he needs to take it easy for a few days. He will be seeing our family physician tomorrow and may be on antibiotics for 4 weeks.

Needless to say, I have been busy. I have been catching up on laundry, baking, knitting and beginning some sewing projects for Christmas. I found this great Burda site with free sewing patterns. I used to do lots of sewing and made most of my own clothes at one time. Sadly, I haven't sewn for many years. Funny, I don't really know why. Perhaps life just gets too busy and setting up the machine and finding room is too laborious.

On Friday I picked up our meat order. I panicked when I saw how many boxes there were! I was sure it would not all fit into our freezer... and it didn't. I was left with one turkey that just would not fit, so we had a turkey dinner on Saturday evening. It is just as well, now the kids have luncheon meat for this coming week. We stopped purchasing any prepared meats after the listeriosis outbreak a couple of months ago. Husband has been wanting to quit buying it for a long time and now we really have reason.

The snow continues to come down, though I went into town yesterday and there is very little accumulated. That's what we get building our home north and at a higher elevation than town. Actually there is a standing joke in town that we tend to get two weeks earlier winter and two weeks later spring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Laura to Nellie

I have finished most of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and am yearning for more! I was not able to find some of them at the local library and have now resorted to ordering them from

In the meantime, I borrowed a book from the Library entitled "Lovingly Yours Nellie" which contains letters written by Nellie Campbell to her family in Maine about her trip, marriage to George, and life in Saskatchewan in the 1920's and then to her move to my area of the world. I am finding the book very interesting as I personally know her daughter-in-law, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

I love this excerpt from the book in which a farm rooster has been fighting with her pet rooster "He certainly was a bloody bird when I rescued him. George killed Turner so Theodbold could have peace and I stuffed and roasted him and invited Bob and Jim and Jim's sister up to supper."

Life was different then - butcher and eat all in the same day. Now we are lucky when our children know from which animal the pre-packaged meat from the grocery store comes from (of even that it comes from an animal at all!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

I haven't been working much - I think I over did it for weeks of working 7am to 9:30 pm. Luckily, I have a job in which I can decide how much I want to work, and organize my time to how I want. Now with the shorter days and snow I want to stay home and do some catching up. I need to get our personal papers and files in order and get the house cleaned and organized once more.

As I write this, huge snowflakes are falling from the sky. I have already been out this morning with tarps to cover the remaining soffit and siding which need to be installed. I fear if the snow continues we won't be able to find them.

Husband is tired too. We rushed to finish the renovations on the old house which is now rented, pulled everything out of our new garage so that the concrete floor could be poured and now he is building the walls in the garage. There is still so much to be done at the new house/property. Last week a company came to measure the remaining siding and soffits that need to be completed. Husband said he is too tired to finish it - he would rather hire someone to do the rest.
Walls being built in the garage. The black box in the wall is the gun cabinet being framed in.

On Saturday we finally purchased a small freezer, and ordered a meat pack from the butcher. We also ordered an additional 10 organic free range chicken. Friday I will pick it all up and we will have our meat for the winter. Husband would normally go hunting for deer the third week of October, but the last 2 years he has been too busy with the new house and just can't take the time.

Yeah! Finally a freezer!

I managed to process the horseradish and got 6 1/2 jars (125 ml). The half jar is in the fridge and the rest is in the new freezer. I was surprised that it did not sting my eyes much, but I was careful to open two windows for a cross breeze and grated the roots (in the food processor) under the hoodfan. I then put the grated root in with the chopping blade, then let it sit for a few minutes before adding some salt and the vinegar. Once done I packed it into sterilized jars. I read that it loses flavour quickly and that is why its in the freezer.

On Sunday I started some sourdough. I have wanted to do this for years but it seems so intimidating. I'm not sure how it will turn out, and I will document it in a separate post. I also managed to make some yogurt, which I haven't made for some time. I seem to be the only one who eats it... but Daughter was saying "Yum, we haven't had yogurt for ages" So maybe she will eat some this time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Snow is Staying

It snowed yesterday. The first few centimeters of the winter. Kaiser had a great time romping in the front yard. I believe his first snow experience was a good one.

Now that winter has arrived, I purchased two more oil lamps. I have prepared them so that they will be ready in case of any power outages. We don't have that happen very often, but it is better to be prepared. Last winter (before we moved in, but were in the process of painting), a truck hit one of the power poles on the highway and our area was without electricity for a couple of days.

I have never used an oil lamp before, but Husband is quite familiar with them. He grew up in a very small town and they were frequently without power. Of course I lit one of the lamps and it smoked like crazy! He showed me that once lit, you actually have to move the wick down so that it isn't exposed.
Doesn't this tie in nicely with Pioneer Week?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Harvest Keeper Challenge

I thought I should make a list of the small amount of food we have stored for the Harvest Keeper Challenge.

4 jars of Victorian BBQ Sauce
10 jars of Plum Jam (plums from the inlaws)
4 jars of Wild Berry Jam
12 jars of relish
13 jars of mustard
20 lbs of potatoes
5 jars (liter) of pumpkin (from the jack-o-lanterns)

I still have horseradish to process that was given to us by my parent's friends.

It was an interesting experiment growing the potatoes. We planted two garbage cans and heaped the plant leaves as they came up. These we watered everyday.

Some potatoes we planted directly into the clay soil without heaping (because the clay was too hard). These were only watered on very hot days, otherwise we left them alone.

We actually expected the garbage can potatoes to do much better, but to our surprise we grew larger and more potatoes in the clay.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pioneer Week

This week is the Pioneer Week Challenge courtesy of Crunchy Chicken. Since I have been reading the "Little House" series over the past couple of weeks, I was gung-ho to join.

I actually began a little early because I wanted to start using the Hallowe'en pumpkins. The story behind all the pumpkin mania (as you will see if you keep reading) is that I have been unable to purchase a pumpkin for Hallowe'en over the past few years even after running to every store in town. This year I managed to purchase 3 large ones at $3.99 each! There is no way that I will be wasting almost $12.00 worth of food!

I recreated Ma Ingalls pie recipe from one of the books in which she uses green pumpkins in a pie. I made a crust and placed in it sliced pumpkin. I then added brown sugar, spices and some butter and topped it off with an upper crust. It turned out yummy, but the kids thought it was weird as it didn't look anything like a traditional pumpkin pie.

I also made a Curried Pumpkin soup. It was very tasty, but next time I will add a little less hot sauce. Here is the recipe...

Curried Pumpkin Soup Recipe
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 med onion, peeled and quartered
A few drops of hot sauce
2 Stalks celery, cut into -2-inch lengths
3 lg. Carrots, peeled and sliced -1/4 inch thick
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 3/4 lb. pumpkin, peeled, -seeded, and cut -into 1-inch dice
3 c Low-salt chicken stock
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper

Place garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place jalapeno in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add celery and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Place carrots in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add jalapeno, celery, and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, bay leaf, curry, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp. of the salt, and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Place the cooked pumpkin and about 1/2 cups of the liquid in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Stir puree back into the soup. Can be garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

This evenings dinner was a simple one (keeping in theme) of boiled potatoes covered in cabbage sauted with onions and bacon, and leftover lamb roast, and of course steamed pumpkin.

I also finished knitting the first slipper that I will be felting. I put it on and I look like I have clown feet - it is so huge! I hope it shrinks down enough when I felt it.

What it looks like now....

What it is suppose to look like.
The free pattern can be found here.