Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Virginia Peach Pudding....

In the comments today, Kathie from Island Sparrow asked for the recipe for Virginia Peach Pudding. Just so you know, this recipe also has a few other alias names: Apple Pudding, Blueberry Pudding, and I've made Cherry Pudding too. This is one of those family-style desserts that you don't eat anywhere but home. It's been a Regular around our table for years. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Virginia Peach Pudding
(thanks to Anne, a true Virginian!)

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar (may reduce it)
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
2+ c. peaches (canned/drained) or blueberries
or cherries or apples (cooked a little if frozen or fresh) or...

Melt butter in 1 1/2 to 2 qt. casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients to make a batter. Pour into the buttery dish. Pile the fruit in the center. Bake 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on how soft or crisp you like it. I bake it to a crispy golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream (and hot coffee!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook...

Outside my window...
...there are single blossoms atop the hollyhocks. The rest have gone to seed.

I am thinking....
...of how delicious the supper smells as it cooks. Tonight it is Creamy Sausage Stew with Virginia Peach Pudding for dessert. What else can a girl be thinking about?

I am thankful for...
...a smart husband and grown son who figured out how to fix the inner workings of the tractor's joystick which would've been a huge expense to purchase new.

From the kitchen....
...ditto "what I am thinking about" (see above).

I am wearing...
...blue jeans with a hole in the right knee, a white T-shirt, my silver cross necklace (that I rarely take off), and bare feet.

I am creating...
....another bit of stitchery for the Grand Angel.

I am going...
...to eat supper in about 20 minutes!

I am reading...
...Martha Stewart Living, October 2008. O joy!

I am hoping...
...to have a little more time to stitch tonight.

I am hearing...
...the screen door slam. J. just came in from hitting golf balls.
I've also been hearing the sound of the sprinkler's "tic-a tic-a tic-a" as it spins round and round all day long. I'm soaking down the lawn before it freezes.

Around the house...
...it feels like summer still. People in and out, flies buzzing in trying to find a warm place to be. It's Monday, the day I wash the sheets. While it's still nice outdoors, I'm hanging all of today's wash on the clothesline.

One of my favorite things...
...afternoon coffee time, preferably with chocolate on the side.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Pregnancy testing the mature cows.
Feeding the crew.
Daily home school lessons.
More embroidery.
Freezing sliced apples with the same ladies as last week.
Serving Pie at the Cowboy Poetry & Art Show at the community hall.

Here's a picture thought I am sharing...

Hubby and I went for a drive in the Canyon.
It's bliss to me!

If you'd like to participate in The Simple Woman's Daybook, you can click here.
Or just do it!

Elf Stitchette Stockings...

Three big Christmas stockings for the babies --
Mission Accomplished!

I used Wee Wonderfuls' free Elf Stitchette pattern for the cute children and Doe-C-Doe's alphabet letters for the tops. This took a little resizing and fiddling, but I'm happy with the results.

I added red & white ticking for the toe and heel and cuff and the back has a pre-quilted natural muslin that makes the stockings stiff and sturdy feeling. Now it's onto more embroidery projects! It's such a gorgeous Indian Summer day here that may have to take my projects to the picnic table.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Applesauce Day...

Another successful Applesauce Day has come and gone this fall, although I'm not sure it will be the last of the season. My daughter and her friend and my DIL came to crank out some delicious homemade applesauce on Friday. What a busy day we had with 4 Littles running around or in someone's arms. It was fun and productive, but by the time the last wooden spoon was washed and the sticky sauce was wiped from the counters, I declared a Sitzkreig. Could it be my age?

S. took this terrific photo with his new camera -- the Canon Powershot. Wow, does this camera have some cool features stuffed into a pocket-sized package! I love the option of taking black & white photos with a little blast of color. And yes, this was done with the camera, not with photo editing.

This tool, the Villa Ware Food Strainer, makes applesauce a breeze to make. Just cook the chunked apple (no need to peel or core) until soft, then put it through the top, turn the crank and the smooth apple sauce comes through one slot while the seeds and skins shoot out the other. If you are considering making homemade applesauce, I highly encourage you to buy this tool. You'll be singing my praises every time you take it out!

I think we ended up with around 40 quarts of applesauce and apple butter when the day ended. Another happy memory of home.

(sorry if I sounded like a commercial for Canon and VillaWare, but good stuff simply must be shared)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

O Happy Day!

Thanks everybody for your comments in the last post about the Hollyhock Nigra. I'm hear to announce that EVERYONE'S a winner! So if you are reading this, please send me an email with your name and postal address so I can ship your seeds out to you. It's really best to plant them in the fall, but if you wish to wait until spring, you can do that too.

Email me at this address: courtney(at)wbaccess(dot)net

My satellite internet was totally down for the past few days so I apologize for the long wait. It's up and running great now! O HAPPY DAY! In the meantime, I've gotten my carpets cleaned, windows washed, and even took a drive through the Canyon with my hubby to take in the autumn colors. O HAPPY DAY! Beautiful, warm, sunny Indian summer day today. O HAPPY DAY! Jesus washed my sins away! O HAPPY DAY!

Sing it with me......

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hollyhock Nigra

(Alcea rosea 'Nigra')

My dad called me this morning to tell me that a lady from the Landreth Seed Co. was in the city harvesting the Hollyhock Nigra, "Which," said Dad, "is very rare. And Jody, YOU have them all over your garden! Don't forget we asked you for some seed this fall!"

I found out that the Landreth Seed Co. is the oldest seed house in America, established in 1784 in Philidelphia. Some of David Landreth's customers were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Bonaparte (Napoleon’s brother). Landreth's claim that they have sold seeds to every US president from George Washington to FDR. (how's that for vintage?)

Isn't it funny that when something is labeled "rare" we get all in a dither and want to make sure we have some of the precious seeds? All I ever knew about my hollyhocks was that they came from old Doc Marousek's clinic garden (which is now an accounting firm and the hollies are now removed). I picked some after a baby appointment for one of the kids many, many years ago. Doc would be thrilled to know his old hollies are now "rare" and "heirloom." Perhaps I ought to take him a packet of his own rare seeds!

This afternoon I did harvest some of my Hollyhock Nigra seeds to share with friends and family. Perhaps some of you would be interested in my rare, heirloom seeds too? Well then, let's have a little drawing. If you're interested in seeds, just leave a comment telling me you'd like some and I will draw for a few packets.

Here's the label from Landreth Seed Co.:

FULL SUN. Native to Turkey and other parts of Asia, the HOLLYHOCK was introduced into Britain in 1573. It was a versatile medicinal plant which was used for tuberculosis, bladder inflammations, soothing swollen horses’ heels, etc. The name originated during the Crusades when the plant was referred to as “holy hoc” (hoc being the Saxon word for mallow or salve). HOLLYHOCK NIGRA was described in 1629. Its huge, black-red flowers have been prized by gardeners for centuries.

*I wonder how hollyhock was used for these medicinal purposes? Anyone know?

Questions about growing hollyhocks from Anna in the comments.....

Anna, Hollyhock seed can be planted in the fall or early spring. Naturally, a hollyhock drops her seeds on the ground in the fall and those little seeds come to life early in the spring but do not flower until summer or even late summer. These are biennial plants so that means that they bloom every other year. Actually, these hollies reseed themselves year after year so you won't have a year without flowers. The first year they *might* only come up and make a big green plant and then the second year they will flower. The hollyhock is a large plant. Sometimes they can tower up to 6' in height so plant them as a background or next to a building. Since they reseed profusely, take care where you plant them so they don't take over an area. They will. Or plant them where you don't mind having them take over. They need very little special care. Most will come up, leaf out and bloom without any help at all. When I was growing up, these flowers were often found in back alleys and my MIL always called them the "Toilet Flower" because people in the olden days planted them alongside their outdoor toilets.....at least the country folks did.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Homegrown Tomatoes...

Summer perfection is a tomato sandwich made
ONLY made with homegrown tomatoes.
1 slice white bread, toasted
smear on Miracle Whip
top with sliced tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
and a tiny bit of parmesan cheese (opt)
Normally, I am a mayo girl, but for this sandwich, it has to be Miracle Whip, a throw-back to my childhood. Making this sandwich with anything besides a homegrown tomato is never going to be any good. FYI.
Take it away, John......

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quarts and quarts....

I hosted a canning day today in my kitchen.
My daughter, my daughter-in-love, and a friend came to can peaches and pears. We ended up with 40 quarts of peaches and 14 quarts of pears. Now the girls are planning an apple sauce canning day! (And I'm lovin' it!)

For lunch I had a nice soup simmering in the crock pot so we could eat "on the fly."


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes (or any chicken you like)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cans (15 ½ ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chicken broth (14 ½ ounces)
1 -2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
½ cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, sauté chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and cream.
Serves: 4-6

*For the crock pot, I dump all the ingredients in (cook chicken first) and set on high until it starts bubbling and then turn to low. I usually don't add the whipping cream, but instead pour in a good cup or two of whole milk to the soup pot. Just before serving, I add the sour cream or allow the eaters to add their own. I like to serve it with tortilla chips and grated cheese on the side.

*I have also added corn to this soup. Yum!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Carrot udder...

What else would a ranch girl think when she pulled this out of the ground?
Carrot Udder!
Looks like a bad cow udder.
Tastes like carrot though!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sweet September...

My Little Granpixie came over today.
She brought her mom and dad too.
She yawned and yawned....

So tired and content peeking out of her cocoon.
(Mommy's frontpack)

I did some reading on the front lawn...
in the Sweet September Sunshine.
Thank you God for Little Things!

(Here's what I was reading)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Harvest Home...

It's September and to me, it's officially autumn. I had a nice morning out walking in the nearby pastures to gather some grasses, flowers and things for my front porch. I always look at the fall silk flowers and leaves at the stores, thinking, "This year I'm going to get some," and every year I don't. I'm such a naturalist at heart, I just can't seem to put up something that's an imitation. My eldest son brought me this roll of very old barbed wire he found and I always get it out to use as a wreath about this time of year.

My front porch still hosts three pots of thriving geraniums that I simply will not give up until I get tired of bringing them in and out of the house on nights that it freezes. So far, no fall freeze, but I have a feeling it's not far off. Our warm growing season is so short here in the northern prairies that I cling to it for as long as possible.

A fall crispness is in the air now and I enjoy the fact that I have to wear a hoodie when I go outside for a walk or to do little chores around the place. The dogs seem more frisky, the cows and calves look for every bit of green grass or weeds that they can find. I think they sense the end of the green things growing too. Just a couple days ago we were taking some cow/calf pairs from a dry range pasture to a mowed hayfield, and along the way we came to a draw (or dry creek) where the grass was green, thick, and tall and we just sat on our horses and let the animals eat awhile. We allowed the horses a nice grazing time too.

Last evening I took a walk through some of the shelter belts around the house and walked down near the old tree fort where our kids used to play and spend a lot of time. Oh, those were fun times. Up in the Big Cottonwood near the fort was a Great Horned Owl. It's time we start bumping into one another once again on these walks. I've missed seeing the owls. Each morning we see flocks of yellow-headed blackbirds and red-winged blackbirds marching across the lawn. The birds are definitely flocking together which is a good sign that it won't be long until they are flying south for the winter. The flowers that seem to be doing best in my gardens these days are the yellow coneflowers and the sunflowers. Yellow seems to be the "in" color right now -- even on the prairie. The white heath asters are coming on and I found rose hips and berries setting on the buck brush near the septic pond (some things do like that yukky water!)

Even the foods we eat are showing signs of autumn. Today's dinner: pork roast, roasted herbed potatoes and veggies, and the best cranberry-apple crisp EVER (with a big glop of whipped cream) and hot coffee. Oh, and there's a nice new candle on the kitchen table that we light every day. Fall always brings out the candles in our home.

Come, ye thankful people come
Raise the song of harvest home:
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God's own temple, come
Raise the song of harvest home.

~Come, Ye Thankful People
(a hymn)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Wow, what an amazing week the USA has had, first with McCain's historical introduction of his nomination of Sarah Palin to the Republican presidential ticket and then to actually hear her address the RNC last night live. It was a powerful night and I think many Americans are energized by this fresh, grassroots governor from Alaska.

Our family has always, always been interested in America's government and elections, so this year will be no different than any other. We like to listen to the speeches of all candidates and watch the debates on TV. Oh sure, we have our picks already, but we want to know everything we can about the candidates to make an informed choice when Election Day rolls around. Our family is celebratinig another new voter this year too -- eighteen year old S. will be casting his first-ever-votes this November and we're excited for him. I can remember vividly the first presidential election I voted in. I helped elect President Ronald Reagan. That was thrilling! Do you remember casting your first vote?

We're a home schooling family and so when elections come around, we always make this season a part of our studies. It's one of those "real life" learning experiences that a textbook just can't bring home (pun intended). Yesterday J. had an excerpt from the book A Man Called Peter, by Catherine Marshall, that he was to take from dictation. The excerpt was about the inauguration of Harry Truman and Alben Barkley in January of 1949. I decided that this book would make a good read aloud, so I proceeded to read the first chapter of the book to the boys. A few hours later, I was looking at a magazine online, the American Heritage, and -- lo and behold -- there was a radio diary about Alben Barkley, "Remember Truman's VEEP." Well, I reconized right away that it was a God Thing that I would come upon this at the perfect time, so I clicked it up and gathered the kids around to listen. We really enjoyed this little snippet about a senator who was born in 1897 in a log cabin in Lowes, Kentucky, who grew up on a tenant farm with his family, was deeply religious, became a lawyer, a senator, and the Vice President of the USA. Reminds me of someone in today's history -- a woman from a small town in Alaska, daughter of teachers, a hockey mom, outdoorsman, Christian, mayor of her hometown, governor and now VEEP nomination for the 2008 election.

I plan to use this opportunity in our country's election process to find more inspiring stories to share with my kids about past elections, presidents, and vice presidents. If you have a good story to share or a link to an historical election or candidate, please share it with me here in the comments. Thanks!


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