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Monday, November 28, 2011

Q & A - volume II

Just a few questions from a podcast I've listened to on occasion and thought I'd answer them here.  If you have a question you'd like me to answer, feel free to post it in the comments and I'll answer in a future edition!

Without a further ado (or doodoo, I told Hubby yesterday that I live for the day when I no longer have to deal with everyone's poop):

1.  Morning person or night owl?
Good gracious, morning person all the way!  Ask Hubby, I'm worthless after 9:30pm.  Even in my college days, I was done at midnight.  You might imagine my non-typical college social life.  I'm proud to say that I've never been to a "kegger", although I busted documented a few parties while employed by the university.  I'm most productive in the morning.  I love to get up and go...and then collapse after supper.

2.  How do you drink coffee?
I don't.  Never have.  When I was teaching I was often asked, "What kind of teacher doesn't drink coffee?"  My summer college roommate worked at a coffee shop and would try and sneak coffee into my patented hot chocolate drinks.  I could always tell.  Hubby makes his own coffee.  My staff makes the coffee when we have an event.  Trust me, you don't want me to make the coffee!

3.  9pm, kids in bed, Hubby's gone.  What do you do?
Seeing as how I only have a half hour before I fall asleep, I'd probably read.  Or call my mom.

4.  What is on your nightstand?
We don't have nightstands as our headboard is a bookshelf.  On MY SIDE of the headboard is our lamp, a basket for small items, a couple of magazines for Kiddo1 to look at when she naps in my room, a catalog that I read and re-read and my current two books.  On hubby's side, I really can't say, but it does seem as though he's paper training a puppy...

5.  What smell do you love?
The smell of growing things:  plants, animals, my kids.  For example, Kiddo2 hates, HATES to have his hair washed.  Eventually, he becomes reminiscent of a wet dog and we have to forcefully scrub his head.  I know that someday he won't smell faintly of wet dog when he snuggles under my chin and I'll miss that.  Also, the smell of our hoophouse in the winter with the chickens in it, compost, my garden.  Ahhhhhhh!

6.  What smell do you hate?
The smell of wet, rotting soybeans in moldering piles at the local elevator.  Ick.

7.  Other than your current home, where would you like to live?
I love ND, I don't think I would want to live anywhere else.  That being said, I love THE FARM where I grew up.  I love our neighbors, our church family, the land...all of it!

8.  Name a historical figure you admire.
I'm not specific to any one particular person, but pioneer women in general.  My goodness, those women did it all and dealt with loneliness, loss of children, hunger, sickness, loss of husbands, etc. when there were no other opportunities.  One of my favorite books is All Together In One Place by Jane Kirkpatrick, a historical novel based on the real story of an 1852 wagon train on the Oregon Trail.

There.  Some tidbits for your reading pleasure.  What else do you want to know??

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Oh, YES I DID!" (AKA What I do with leftover turkey)

It's that time of year again!  When we have a pile of turkey leftover and the thought of eating it all in sandwiches is just too much to bear.  Here's a great non-recipe that uses not just your leftover turkey, but your other leftovers as well.

May I present?  TURKEY POT PIE (kinda)

When you've finished eating your pie, 

and are staring down the barrel of turkey carcass, 

it's time to throw tomorrow night's supper together.  Literally, there's throwing involved.

First, use a large pan, we're using a LOT of leftovers.  Then, put your mashed potatoes (I won't keep using the word "leftover", because, well, they're all leftovers.  I'll just designate what is NEW.) as the bottom layer of your potpie.  I do "homestyle" mashed potatoes as a general rule unless there is a guest who abhors the sight of vitamins, minerals and fiber...then I'll peel them.

Here's the only NEW item:  a bag of mixed vegetables.  Cook them until almost tender.

While the veggies are cooking, take your fresh, farm-raised turkey that was utterly delicious and flavorful and chop up the meat.

Add the turkey to the gravy that has now congealed into the golden scrumptiousness that is homemade gravy.  If you had jarred or packaged gravy, I feel so sorry for you.  Really, I do.  That you were suckered into the lie that you can't make gravy.  It's like people who buy frozen knephla because they don't think they can make it themselves.  Gravy, I'd bathe in it if I was a bath-taking person...

Just like this!

Don't forget to add your other leftovers like green bean casserole.  Oh yes I did!  And if we were a cranberry sauce eating family, I'd probably add that as well.  My mom has perfected the cranberry salad, thereby freeing us from cooking cranberries.

And if you think for one minute that I didn't add the remaining french fried onions to this mixture, you would be sadly mistaken.  Oh, YES I DID!

Strain your vegetables.  Then throw them into the roasting pan turned mixing bowl.  That's right, throw!

Mix is all up in all it's congealed yumminess and spread it over your mashed potato layer.

I had about 2 cups of squash and in previous renditions of this meal, I added it to the mixture.  

However, this time I spread a thin layer over the top to give it a little color. 

And, for the creme de la creme...sprinkle your homemade stuffing over the top for the "crust".
Yes, I said "stuffing".  Here in tasty-ville we believe in stuffing our birds with homemade stuffing from home-baked buns that have seen better days, lots of onions, lots of spices, two eggs (eee gads, I know one home economist who would be apoplectic by now.  "You stuffed the bird and used eggs?!" ).  Oh, YES I DID!  Generations of thanksgiving turkeys have been stuffed.  And guess what?  We survived and lived to enjoy another year of stuffing as it was meant to be.

There!  Cover that baby with plastic wrap and slide it in the fridge.  Tomorrow you can bake it at 350 degrees until it's all bubbly and the stuffing is toasty.  (As full as my pan is, I'll put a baking sheet underneath to catch any bubbled over bits.)  Oh, YES I WILL!

Behind the scenes of Thanksgiving

I'll be honest.  This year was a rough one for me.  The first holiday without my dad.  A few tears were shed, hearts were heavy, but I'm so thankful that we will be reunited again one day.

So, while I am so very thankful for all of God's blessings in my life, I'd like to show you some behind the scenes of Thanksgiving on the farm...

First, we had a pickup load of squash and pumpkins to roast and process to be stored in the freezer.

Once again, Kiddo1 is a HUGE help on the food mill.  She'll either crank the handle or run the "strumpfer"(phonetically spelled for the Hubby's benefit, it's a great German word and the only name I know for the red thing).

From here the squash goes into freezer bags and frozen for delicious dinners and baby food for Kiddo3.

Then we had the turkeys.  Eight of them.  We have never had turkeys before and I have to say we love them!  They are very personable and make really cool sounds:  a "pop", a whistle, and a high pitched gurgle.  They always come right up when we are there to check us out.

The kids really enjoy watching them.  Here they are chowing down on squash guts and skins from the squash processing.  I had heard horror stories of turkeys chasing and pecking people, but having them in the portable range shelters is a wonderful way for the kids to enjoy them safely and the turkeys to be very healthy and safe from predators eating them.  Because we're going to.

Another chore we had to do was move the laying hens into the hoophouse (another post, another time). Again, Kiddo1 is a great help in catching an escapee.

Kiddo2 received a new hat from Grandma and when I opened up the pickup door he said, "I'm MonkeyBoy!"

And here we are, all holding hands!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Showing everything

About a week ago I was visiting with a friend and fellow blogger.  She mentioned that she loved my blog because I'm not afraid to show everything.

I asked her if she was referring to the full frontal chicken nudity.

She said yes, and the photos of the sheep and then the carcass.

I laughed and thanked her and we continued on trying not to be a distraction at our monthly meeting, but she's moving and I'm struck by how I'm going to miss her even though we're blog buddies.

Later on, I was thinking about her comments.  That I'm not afraid to show everything.  Oh, boy!  If she only knew...

Here's just a partial list of the things I don't show you:
1.  My two current knitting projects - one scarf I ran out of yarn and it looks ridiculous and the other I can't seem to figure out the pattern.  Really, it's 26 stitches of pure greek and my tried and true method of "just knitting out of it" is NOT working.  And it's my pretty yarn...

2.  The floor under Kiddo3's high chair - she's almost 10 months old and insists on feeding herself.  Have I ever mentioned I hate high chairs?  I do.  They are designed to be awkward, floor space eating monsters that are the most difficult item to clean ever designed by man.

3.  My exercise plan - I'll admit, I used to belong to a gym.  For a year, in my wild single days (or was it day?).  Then I got married, moved 34 miles from the nearest gym and had three kids in three years.  I tell myself that I just work my butt off.  However, I've seen no evidence that that is actually taking place...

4.  The storage room - it's that awkward time of the year when I'm putting canning stuff away and trying to fall clean and move out kid stuff that we no longer need.  It's a wreck.

5.  My weedy gardens - I've always felt that a clean garden is the sign of a dirty mind, but perhaps I've taken that a bit too far.  I love weeding, really, I do.  But it's impossible to hand weed 1.5 acres when working 30 hours a week off the farm.

That there is a just a partial, PARTIAL list of all that I don't show you and I'm the one who shows everything.  Perhaps I need to show more un-pretty.  More than one person has said, "I don't know how you do it all!"  I don't.  No one does.  And anyone who thinks they do is deceiving themselves.

I don't look like a woman in a magazine.  My house would never grace the pages of Better Homes & Gardens.  I burn a beautiful roast beef and have to scrape the char off so we can eat it.  I've sewed through my finger with my sewing machine (and had to rip out the three stitches with my seam ripper).  My laundry gets piled for days until I force myself to stay awake and fold it all.

But that's my imperfect life.  And until I see the other side of heaven, my life will always be a work in progress.  But the key word there is progress.  I'm not the same person I was yesterday, and thank goodness God's not done with me yet!

There, I think I showed you everything...