Tuesday, October 28, 2014

More mending with little details...

 This time I patched a pair of girl jeans on the outside.  I embroidered the patches first and then machine sewed them on.  Only the knees are my embroidery.  The other was factory stitched.  
(I love the factory stitching.  Cute!)

 Patched a major rip on Hubs' jeans.  The patch is underneath the rip and then sewed over with denim colored thread so it doesn't show much.  I stitched the Xs around the rip for fun.

I put total fronts on Hubby's jeans, patching over the top. They look almost like chaps covering the legs. The jeans will be extra-warm when the weather turns cold. These two small embellishments are  in fairly obscure spots -- tiny signs that I was the mender of the Man's jeans.
We'll see if he notices.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

More groovy jeans patches...

I feel like a 7th grader again, 
drawing on jeans and embroidering them
 to my heart's desire!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunshine (and other stuff)....

I'm so thankful for the October sunshine we've been having.  It's still Indian Summer here on the plains, and I'm thrilled!  It means we have beautiful days to get fall work done, and I have time to spend sunbathing before the cold weather comes upon us.  Living so far north, we tend not to have days for soaking up the sun much after September.  Some of us get a little more sluggish or bluesy or melancholy when the winter months hit.  I think it's called SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and it tends to start and end about the same time each year.  I know I feel a little more blah when winter hits so I'm always working on catching some sunshine each day, even if the weather is cold and I can't sit in the sun with shorts and a tank top.  Since our bodies need the sun to make vitamin D, and winter doesn't give us much sunbathing weather, I take a vitamin D3 supplement from fall through June or so.  Hubs and I also test our vitamin D levels twice a year to make sure we're in the "good" levels. I'd rather not take D3 pills or drops, but we have little choice in the north.  There's an excellent article by Mommypotamus about why we should choose sun over supplements.  Click here.

Have you also noticed that when the weather turns to cold, dark winter that there are more colds and flu?  I think there is a definite link to the sunshine and wellness.  So many of us don't spend any time outdoors since much of our work and even our play is indoors.  I read an article that mentioned taking a daily sunshine break at noon.  Instead of staying in for lunch, eat in the sunshine or choose to sunbathe over your noon hour.  I like that idea.  It's practical except when it's -20 degrees, the wind's blowing and there's a foot of snow on the ground.  Better take some D drops on those days!

On another health note, OnlyDaughter sent me a link to an interesting article on the flu shot.  With all the giant signs at every grocery store, pharmacy, and even the car dealerships shouting:  FLU SHOTS HERE, it merits some attention this time of year, but a Johns Hopkins scientist says that the shot  really is ineffective against the flu, and can be seriously detrimental to small children.  Click here for that article.
(CarpenterSon's shop/garage, minus sliding doors)
In other news, the shop that was built for CarpenterSon is complete!  The men did it all themselves and it looks great!  Today I helped my boy brush on the oil to preserve the raw wood boards and batten that are the exterior of the shop/garage.  I am so glad that he bought himself a sprayer so he could do the majority of the work spraying on the oil.  I brushed around windows and doors and next to the roof line.  Now he's ready to put up workbenches and set everything up the way he wants it.  One more job that we were able to complete during this stretch of Indian Summer.

Yesterday the vet and his helper came to fertility test the bulls.  I was in charge of fixing a lunch, and since Dad gave me another bucketful of his apples, I decided an apple pie would be nice.  I have the very best pie dough recipe that I make.  It was given to me by a farmwife many years ago and I still use it for every pie I bake.  It makes a big batch of 7 single pie shells so I roll it all out and lay it in pie plates and then bake what I want for the moment and freeze the rest for later.  I had a couple of frozen crusts left in the freezer so an apple pie was whacked up fairly fast!  MMMMmmmmm good!  I didn't get a picture of the finished pie, but trust me, it was good!
Big Batch Pie Crust

5 c. flour
2 c. lard (or other fat)
1 T. salt
2 t. sugar
1 egg,
Cold water

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients and Crisco together until it resembles small peas.
Add egg to a measuring cup, whisk and then add enough water to make 1 cup of liquid.
Gradually mix in water/egg mixture until dough stick together.  If needed, you may add a little water or reduce the water, but do so by the tablespoonful.

Divide dough into 6 or 7 pieces.  Roll out for pies.

*This dough freezes very well.  I usually roll out crusts, put them into pie plates and freeze with waxed paper between them and cover with 2 layers of plastic grocery bags.  So nice to pull a crust out of the freezer and have a quick pie.

I hope you're soaking up the sun (in your soul and your body) on these short fall days and save it up for winter.  And if you are in need of a cool down and rains where you live, I wish you that!  God bless you, friends.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Simple things....

A perfect apple, the only one, found in the grass at the bottom of the tree by six-year-old hands.

Slicing the perfect apple and sharing it with loved ones.

Noon sunbathing on a cozy blanket on the lawn.

Taking a walk to the mailbox at sunset and hearing two Great Horned Owls calling to one another under a full moon.  (Listen here)

Grandchildren coming over for a visit.

Hanging clean laundry on the clothesline for a fresh-air drying.

Eye-ing sheep (shearing their faces) in preparation for winter snow and frost.

Yellow and orange Calendula flowers that persist through cold nights and little water.

Bees who are sucking up every last bit of nectar from their flowers before they wither and die.

The earthy smell of decaying fallen leaves.

Pulling up big orange carrots from the veggie patch as we need them.

Cutting fresh lettuce from the veggie patch.

Finding more pullet eggs in the nests each day.

Selling the last of the lambs today.

Fresh-baked apple pie from Dad's apples.

The low sun shining into my kitchen windows.


Flannel shirts.

What are some of your favorite simple things?

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, October 03, 2014


Fall is that special time of year when you start getting baseball bat sized zucchinis stuffed in your mailbox or trash bags full of very ripe fruit delivered to your door.  My dad, bless his heart, called me first, at least, and asked me if I could possibly use a trash bag full of ripe plums.  Ummmmm.  Well.  Sure!  Yes, I could use an entire trash bag of plums for something, I guess.  I thought to myself, if nothing else, I could feed them to the chickens.

The day arrived when OnlyDaughter delivered them as she picked up her children from a two day stay.  Now it was time to figure out what I'd do.  The first thing I thought of was jam.  I had never made plum jam, but I figured I had the ingredients for at least one batch so I'd give it a try, not knowing whether or not Hubs or I would actually eat the stuff, or if we'd just leave it to age on the shelves of the canning cupboard for years and years and then let our children throw it away once we passed on.  I'll write the year on the top of the jar just for conversation.  I could hear them saying, "Geez!  Mom made this stuff in 2014 and here it is 2044 and the seal is still good!"

First, there was the washing and then the sorting and pitting of hundreds of little cherry-sized plums.  This was the time consuming-est part of the process, but I pressed on, hoping for the best.  I always make jam to taste, not following a recipe exactly when it comes to measuring out the sugar.  You never know if the fruit is going to be very sweet or very tart so I add the sugar a bit at a time and taste.  One lick of the spoon and I knew this jam was going to be the bomb diggity.  And it was!  I had a glob on some fresh-baked bread and it was to die for!  Then I had JJo try it that evening.  She was floored by the flavor and took a pint home for herself.  I took a jar to JLo's too figuring they might like to try it.  Since the experiment turned out so well, I bought another case of jelly jars and a little more sugar and pectin and made another big batch of jam, and froze the rest of the pitted plums in the freezer for more jam later.  Or perhaps Dad might want some plums for wine making.

The dreaded trash bag of plums turned out to be nectar of the fruit gods.  So far we've had that plum jam on toast and on ice cream, and next I plan to use it as a layer in coffee cake.  Can't you just taste that tangy sweetness and see that beautiful red swirl in the middle layer of morning coffee cake?  Oh yesssssss!


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