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.


  1. I agree on the sunshine!
    The shop looks great....
    Thanks for recipe...will come in handy this winter.

  2. Jody your pie looks wonderful. I make a similar crust with Crisco but I have never used an egg. I bet it makes your crust nice and rich. Our Family always get the flu shot as e we have a few asthmatics and I had sever pneumonia and can't risk getting the flu. Here's hoping we all stay healthy this year. I here the flu season is going to be bad. I have several friends who have had it this year and it lasted 3 weeks or so for both of them.

    I love your header photo. It just makes me happy.

  3. We've had some lovely sunshine and warmth here in the N.W., too. That shop looks fabulous and that pie...yum!

  4. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm a registered user since I've been commenting under my wordpress identity...

  5. Wow -- 7 pie crusts in one recipe -- that's amazing! Do you freeze some of the crusts unbaked to use for the tops of pies? Or just make a crumble type topping or something?
    Very interesting flu article -- I've always wondered about the effectiveness of the shot. We get them free at work. I didn't start getting them until a Dr. friend of mine told me that they were at a party one year and everyone had had the flu (a nasty year) but three people -- and they were the ones who had had the shots. Now I get one every year -- and have been flu free. Not sure if it's the shot, but I'll keep it up just in case!

  6. The shop for Carpenter Son looks great and I have no doubt, will be a productive spot for the working of his hands!

    Sunshine---I would be happy to share ours with you dearie! Come on down anytime!

    Flu shot...considering that I had finally made the decision to get one AND just put it on my list of things to do today....I have re-considered that decision! Two years ago, I got a flu shot and came down with the influenza (I hadn't had it in 10 years!) Thanks for the info!

    Pie crust.....I printed the recipe while I think about your apple pie (and feel like Pavlov's dog just picturing the warm slice of tender crusted sweetness).


  7. We just finally got come cooler weather to help kill off (or at least discourage) the mosquito swarms that plague us all summer, and esp. in late summer/early fall. I'm loving this crisp weather!! At last this afternoon I went digging in my trunk in the garage and pulled out a few long-sleeves tops, and something for my feet beside flip-flops :) Thanks for that pie crust recipe -- 'tis the right season for it! Glad you are soaking up your healthy sunshine. I've never had a flu shot yet, and do not often get flu.

  8. Glad to hear all your news. The workshop looks good as does the apple pie. We certainly feel the change in temperature now we're back in England, but these golden Autumn days are still lovely and the breeze is getting those heavier clothes items drying quickly on the line.


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