Showing posts from November, 2005
This is a picture of a double recipe of Cinnamon Loaf Cake from the cookbook titled, Mennonite Community Cookbook.
Our family has been eating this cake for years and years.
When our daughters were old enough to begin baking on their own this was one of the first recipes they made. It was so much fun to see them become successful bakers at an early age. Now as adults, they have no problem finding their way around a kitchen.
My oldest daughter was about 12 when she started baking this delicious cake for us.
Here is the recipe... it certainly doesn't fit into the health food category, but it sure is good tasting. I bake it in a 350 oven and check it after half an hour to see how close to done it is. The big pan we use takes a bit more than one hour to bake.

Cinnamon Loaf Cake

3/4 cup fat
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all- purpose flour or 4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat un…
We had the privilege as a family to watch a border collie in action at the Homestead Heritage Craft Fair last Friday. He was an amazingly hard worker.
I have posted some pictures of him at work and one of our Wee little Fergus MacSnow. He sure is growing fast. Just look back at his earlier pictures in my blog ! I have been having so much fun training Fergus. He sits on command, comes when called and is already by his nature, herding (rounding up) the chickens and getting them in one area. This next week I will start training him with the whistle, right now I am using voice commands but will gradually transfer him over to only the whistle. By spring he will have a few sheep and a couple goats to be working. Its amazing to see how intelligent this tiny little puppy is.
Here is another picture of the soap we made yesterday. Today it was firm enough to cut into bars. The scent of the anise oil has filled the house with the most delightful smell.

Its a bit earlier for me than most years, as we have had this tradition of waiting for the first weekend in December to put the tree up. But, we put our tree up today and at this moment my living room is filled with boxes of Christmas decorations. I go overboard at Christmas and decorate each and every room of my house, including the bathrooms. Its my favorite holiday and that is reflected in the amount of decorations we have. In the next few days I will post pictures of what it looks like around here at the holidays.
Aside from getting the tree up and decorated and making soap, I also picked some things from the garden. Its growing wonderfully right now and we had the blessing of picking enough broccoli to have with our evening meal. There are a few tomatoes still on the vine but tonight it is supposed to get down to about 30 degrees, so not sure if they will make it or not. It seemed strange to this old Yankee, to be putting the tree up and picking from the garden on the same day.
Here are some more soap making pictures. The essential oils being added to the soap. The soap mold ready to receieve the soap and finally you see the soap poured into the mold and ready to set over night, then be cut and left to cure for at least 3 weeks.
Today was soap making day on our little homestead. I made a soap using no animal fats. Just olive oil, palm oil and coconut oil. Scented it with anise oil. In the pictures you can see the oils in my big kettle. They are heated to just the right temperature and then I add my lye water cooled down to about 100 degrees. The Lye water is added to the fats and stirred for about a half hour.
Yesterday I felt the Hand of God. We had decided to go for a drive to show my sister and best friend some of the range land not too far from our home. We had a most pleasant trip and stopped at a Wal-mart and a Gibson's to do some shopping which had it so the trip home was in the dark. About half way home someone in the on-coming traffic decided to pass the cars in front of them, only problem was, we were in the other lane in the opposite direction and I guess he just never saw us. By the time he did, it was too late for him to get back in his lane. My husbands quick reflexes and incredible driving skills saved our lives along with the Hand of God. My husband managed to get our car squeezed between the on coming traffic which was a 18 wheeler and the man who was coming straight for us. It was only a miracle that saved all of our lives from a head on crash on a dark night on a country road. I can't stop thanking God for His watchcare over all of us.

Here are some pictures of the farm animals from Homestead Heritage. The Saanan dairy goat reminded me of my Annike in temperment. They have sheep shearing demonstrations throughout the weekend so by Sunday, all the sheep will have had hair cuts. They have milking demonstrations using the goat and the pretty little cow in the picture.
Here are some pictures of the wonderful items they have for sale at the Homestead Heritage Craft Fair. Most of the items have been made by the children in the community
For the past 13 years we have had the pleasure of being able to attend the Homestead Heritage Craft Fair in Elm Mott Texas. It is an amazing experience. Crafts is almost a misnomer as each item made there and sold is a work of art.
There are demonstrations on farming with horses, candle making, spinning, weaving, pottery, sheep shearing, sheep dog demonstrations, woodworking and so much more.
The food sold there is healthy, delicious and a delight to the eye. Each year I save up money to purchase something special from this fair. Homestead Heritage is a wonderful Christian community that shows us all a bit of what true Christianity is about. Check out their web site and if you are ever in that part of Texas, the community is worth a visit.
These pictures are of some of the farm areas of the community.
Thanksgiving was indeed a day of Thanks. We had a delightful meal and wonderful conversation. Food in abundance, made complete with jolly laughs about "the old days" when my sisters and I were young and peppered with talk of traditions and family history. We also spoke of when my own children, now grown, were young and all the family stories that make you laugh when you recall the silly times.My oldest daughter sent pictures of her first thanksgiving and we laughed together when we saw that we used the exact same pans and dishes for the same foods and how much we do things alike. The chain of tradition strong and binding our generations together. I mashed my potatoes in the very same bowl my mother did and as hers did so many years ago. I make my stuffing the exact way my mother did, and she did it the same way her mother did. I think that is what the holiday is all about. Family history and thankfulness for our families. Our family is not a modern family like …
Thanksgiving would not be complete without Bells Seasoning. I would have no idea how to make stuffing without it. Every year my sister sends me a box or two from Massachusetts since its not sold in Texas. The house smells of sugar and spice and all things nice. The windows are steamed over and there is a level of excitement that is tangible running through the house. Company is coming and the table will be full of goodies and great company.
The best thing to be thankful for today is having loved ones near. I will have a little tug of sadness the whole day through since my oldest daughter is far away from home and having her very first thanksgiving on her own with her husband. Vermont is cold and snowy today and I am sure she is glad to be settled in her cozy little home today.
Happy Thanksgiving to all !
This is my new pair of socks in progress. I am using Opal Petticoat yarn from Germany and it knits up in such a fun design. Its a washable wool yarn and just a delight to work with.
By next week my feet should be happy in their new socks.
Its kind of funny to be sharing a picture of some of my treasures in view of my last blog entry about why we own some things. Not all things owned are tied up with the desire to show off ! Some are just simple pleasures. These items on the hutch are just that. Simple pleasures. Some passed on to me by my mother who loved pewter like I do. I change what is out on my hutch every couple weeks. It gives me a chance to enjoy looking at the things I love. During fall time I seem to enjoy the rich warm colors of salt glazes and the dull grays of Pewter. Perhaps reflecting the shades of fall clouds with the pewter and the colors of the leaves in the earth tones of the pottery.
Pewter also reminds me of pilgrims and hearing stories when I was a child of how they washed their dishes in the sand. That always sounded crazy to me until in my teen years on a camping trip I found myself doing the same thing.
In fall, as the cold weather creeps in and mornings are filled with chores done with cold hand…
Have you ever honestly asked yourself if you own certain things because you get pleasure out of them or if you own them to show them off ? Perhaps its a bit of both. I am not talking about the utilitarian items we have in our homes, but the "things", the collections. The things we buy that excite us as we "hunt" for them, but then the thrill is quickly gone as they sit on the shelf or on the hutch or in the closet. Did we perhaps buy them to show them off or was it something more ? I can freely admit to purchasing things to get the expected "oooohs and awwws" as guest see them. Fancy china, a collection of wooden shoes, old linens, etc. Lots of things. But in my growth as a person I can see the vanity and stupidity of purchasing things to make me look better or appear more something. Its a total waste of money when there is such need in the world. And in time, all things become just that, things. My wooden shoes for instance, they cost me abou…
When I was a child we lived in a very big old house and it had coal heat. Winters in New England can be very cold and this house was drafty beyond words. My father and uncles would be working hard to keep the coal furnace filled.
In the living room we had a kerosene heater just like the one in my picture. I remember loving it when my mother or grandmother would turn off the lights and the light from the heater would make fancy designs on the walls and ceilings. Last year I had the opportunity to buy this heater. Good memories of snowy evenings sitting together, warm and cozy around the heater. We don't use the one we bought but use our wood stove for heat but every time I walk by the old kerosene heater in my dining room, memories flood my heart and it warms me in a special way.
Last night we were very happy for the warmth from our woodstove as a cold front blew in from the north and turned the never ending summer into fall here in Texas
Today was a busy day. Perfect day for washing bed linens as the wind was strong all day long. They smelled so good bringing them in off the line, just filling the house with that fresh air smell.
Now the house is filled with the delightful scent of mesquite and oak in the wood stove. Butternut squash on the stove, collard greens, and broccoli on the side.
The chickens enjoyed a snack of sunflower seeds that blew off the bird feeder. Its another good day on the farm. Hard work, cold weather and a north wind makes for a perfect evening in front of the stove with a steaming cup of tea.
As I was out walking Fergus last night around 10 pm, the sky was breathtaking. More than once I tripped on a fallen branch or into a hole, since I could not take my eyes off the unfolding drama above me. The moon looked nearly full or it was full, I had not checked. The clouds were flying past reminding me of white caps on a tumultuous sea. A ring around the moon of rainbow like shades appeared more red than the other colors and gave the clouds around it a rather mystical appearance. I had never seen a ring with red as the major color.
The clouds raced across the sky in fantastic speed. Shapes dancing and changing in seconds. My neck was getting sore from watching so I sat down and leaned back to watch some more. Fergus had some extra time to run and chase leaves in the light of this bright moon, while I gazed upon the heavens.
This morning I was up while the sky was still dark and saw the moon setting in the west. A huge yellow orb, hanging in the black sky. Another beautiful sight.
As …
Frost on the pumpkins is a common enough phrase, but this year I doubt we will have any. Today was near 80. Tomorrow a cold front comes through and will bring more normal temps to this part of Texas.Last year, there was Frost on the Pumpkin as you can see in this picture taken last year. I am trying to be patient waiting for cold weather but it sure is hard to do.Animals are confussed and the squirrels are building nests.
When I was 16 something wonderful happened in my life, my niece was born. When I was a little girl I played dolls all day long. They were my babies. I fed them three times a day, changed diapers every two hours when I was home from school, and loved these dolls with all my heart and was insulted when someone said they were "just dolls". I admittedly played dolls until I was 14 and then I started baby sitting. This love of babies in general was nothing compared to the instant love I felt when my niece was born. She was born in the hospital that I worked in after school and boy was I proud to show her off to all my co-workers and friends. She was perfect in every way ! I got to spend so much time with her when she was a baby and toddler. She was the delight of my life . For a while my sister moved to Georgia and I thought my heart would break. I would not get to see my little neice every day, but as fate would have it, things did not work out well in the marriage and my sister…
This picture is busy. So many things to see in it, that its hard at first to even figure out just exactly what it is. Its looking down on a little inlet of a lake. Into a small cove like spot with thick growth all around it. I am standing on a hill looking down into this place. Most times you can find water birds in this area. They like the seclusion of the spot. A safe haven. When you are down there, you see fewer objects and it seems quite simple. On the forefront of the picture, if you look carefully there is a huge spider web.
But there is just so many object in this picture its hard to enjoy it.
Life is that way sometimes. We have too many irons in the fire, too many scenes of action in our daily life to be able to sit back and enjoy it. We have too many things in our homes, too many activities, too many hobbies and too many stores to shop from. Too many things to move to dust and we have storage units, and garages packed to the rafters. Too many collections. We have too much alto…
I just had to share this picture. It looks like my critters are marching single file towards the house. All three animals follow me to the barns and match my steps as I do my chores both morning and evening.
Today I caught them on camera all marching like well trained cadets single file back to the porch where they know food will arrive soon. Fergus is growing in leaps and bounds and at his young age, sits for the camera. He has several commands down pat now and is proving to be a really smart puppy.
Having had what seemed to be copious amounts of water before bed last night, there was the normal consequences of my actions, an early trip to the bathroom. The back door is right next to our bathroom and I just had to stop there for a moment and see the unfolding drama of the early morning sky.
The scene was amazing but I was not willing to go get the camera and take pictures as I was far too anxious to get back to that cozy place I had been, in the place I love the most, resting my head on my husbands chest. So there is no picture this morning. My comfy bed won out and rather than stand out in the damp grass taking pictures I climbed back under the covers and sunk down in the feather bed.
But the sky I had seen kept running through my thoughts. I kept thinking how could I describe the way the dark gray clouds were being chased across the sky from the southwest. Then I remembered seeing a scene in little house on the prairie this week. It showed a great steam engine pulling in to…
Guess I am in a real chatty mood today. Three entries in one day is almost excessive !
I wanted to share this picture of my herbs hanging up to dry along side of the baskets I use to gather the goodness of the earth from our gardens.
I am working hard to make it seem like November despite the temperatures in the middle to high 80's. If this winter proves to be this warm the high natural gas and oil prices may not sting as much as thought, and the big shot executives in the fuel companies may not be counting out their coins in Silas Marner fashion.
Some mornings the land just begs to be walked. This was that kind of morning. After doing my chores, I went and got my camera and went for a walk. The wind seemed to beckon me further and further. As if it was giving me a gentle nudge to walk on. The fallen leaves crunched under my feet and the crows overhead were calling to one another in some round of crow conversation that I was not made privy to.
Squirrels ran from branch to branch, chattering at me as if to say, "stay away". There is great solitude in the trees. But not silence. The noises in the trees are many and cause you to look and see what is making each sound.
As I came back towards the garden I noticed that the herbs were ready to be clipped and dried by the wood stove for winter use. I found lovely bunches of comfrey, and I could not resist the fragrant rosemary, although it stays green and fresh all winter outside. I love how it smells hanging in bundles off the huge cedar beam in our living room. I found basil,…
Fergus MacSnow Has an Adventure

Sweet little Fergus has been so well behaved but there is a glint in his eye that has you wonderin' what might this wee puppy be thinking.
Watching him run is amusing in of itself. His tiny legs holding up his rolly poly body. His head held high as if he knows he is quite the little man dog.
We have our property completely fenced, and around the bottom of ALL our fence is chicken wire. That was quite a job to do but we wanted to make sure the critters stayed on our land.
Wee Mr. Fergus was full of energy yesterday and I had lots to do so for a bit I left him out of his pen and have run of the land.
I checked on him ever so often to make certain he was o.k.
After a bit I was in the living room and noticed my neighbor walking towards my house, sure enough, she had wee Mr. Fergus in her arms. Somehow, and we have no idea how, he escaped. Their children were out playing and I guess Fergus thought it would be fun to join in.
Fergus was placed in his pen outs…
I just got home from walking to the post office. More out of necessity than anything else. I like to walk, don't get me wrong, actually I love walking, but today there was something that needed to be mailed and I have no car. If I did I may have chosen the lazy route and drove. In the scheme of things its better to not have a car so you do walk, or you plan out your errands more carefully.
We have two cars in the family but I let everyone else have them all the time. What I need is to walk places so no car at home makes that happen more often.
Today, the wind was blowing the way it does in fall, only one difference today, its 80 out. It felt like a summer breeze with the exception of what was taking place around me. As I walked, the air was full of dancing leaves. Swirling as if in some romantic ballroom dance. The sound of the crispy dry leaves on the pavement is like no other sound. Its almost a scrapping sound but delightfully light and pleasant to the ear, no doubt due to the as…
Today my family has been discussing some aspects of healthy living. Organic foods, avoiding processed foods and chemicals in our health care products. For me these things have been a part of my life for many years. Now I am not a die hard organic person, can't afford it always. And I enjoy some sugar but am working to eliminate it from my diet altogether.
As I was pouring my drink for breakfast I thought I would share a bit about this drink and although it looks a bit like pea soup, its really a tasty treat. Bolthouse Farms has some great products but this is my favorite. Its a meal in a bottle I think.
This is the link for the information on Green Goodness.
Gives you a good feeling to drink it, knowing you are getting lots of good nutrition along with a good tasting drink..
According to their web page and the drink container, this is what's in the bottle.
Ingredients: Apple Juice from concentrate (apple juice concentrate, water),…
Our modern world is one of little time to sit back and have leisurely family dinners on Sundays with lots of family around.
When I was a kid growing up, my grandparents lived with us.
My house on Sundays was packed with family. Uncles, Aunts, cousins would come over after church on Sundays to visit. Boxes of donuts and coffee were in abundance. The children all played together and the adults visited.
We were close in those days. Cousins were best friends. Uncles and Aunts just an extension of your own family.
As time went by, my grandparents passed away. Us kids grew up and married, my folks sold their house. Everyone got busy with their own lives and in no time things changed. No more getting together. The girl cousins didn't meet for "club" a time we all got together and visited.
I moved clear across country and felt a huge loss. No extended family was hard for me.
In time, this loss would set me to action. I set up a family email list, invited cousins, Au…