Category: the homestead



The sun has been shining, the weather much more seasonable and reasonable the past few days. Yesterday, one grandson arrived to help Hubby with some things. The foremost, to me, was replacing a broken stair tread on our porch. It was becoming a bit scary walking down them when it was slick.
Today, three teenage boys are here, the pen for new chicks has been completed, a trailer of junk was loaded and removed.
Now they are finishing the stair railing on the porch steps. :)
Hubby is mentoring and supervising. Tools and training are available.
The reward for all this effort? It is not monetary, hot showers at end of the day, a good meal and being allowed to set up one of the tents in the yard for the night. Well, yes, there is a possibility of a campfire and s’mores.
Sleeping bags and pillows are provided by the management.
There will be more weekends like this coming! It’s time to get he garden ready and planted, school vacation will be coming and then the rewards grow into trips to the river, swimming and fishing.


Sitting here inside, looking out my window. The only signs of spring I see are colorful birds flocking to feed. Sunrise Ridge is covered in icy sleet about 3 inches deep.
Only a week ago, temperatures were in the 50 and 60 degree range. Some outdoor chores were done.
We separated some plants off the ‘mother’ blueberry bush and got them in new spots. Well mulched, hope they survived the weekend storm.
One of the ‘babies’ didn’t have much root, so I brought it in and stuck it in a bucket of water in a south window. Roots are filling the bucket and this morning discovered tiny green leaves coming out. Yes, there is hope!
It has been a long winter, and the return of robins, green growing things even inside) and sunshine is a blessing.
In the not far away future, the snow and ice will go away, as it has for millions of years.
Today, I rejoice in that fact!


I found this pattern in a magazine called Country Afghans back in 2000. Yes, I keep things I might need again, and turns out I do sometimes. I do not know it the copyright is still in effect so I am giving them credit. It is called ‘Blue Skies’ in the magazine and should, if done in the colors the instructions call for look like the first picture below.
granny square 101 part 2 006
You will need: 4 ply worsted weight yarn
30 oz. white
10 oz. light blue
11 oz. Med blue
12 oz bright blue
Size H hook
tapestry needle gauge : Large square should be 13″ at end of border
First large square: starting in center with light blue, ch4, join with slip stitch to form ring.
Rnd 1 Ch 3 for first dc, work 2 dc in ring, (ch2, 3 dc in ring)3 times ch 2, join with sl st in top of ch 3.
Rnd 2 With med. blue join with sl st in any ch 2 space, ch 3, work 2 dc in ch 2 sp, ch 2, 3 dc in same space, (ch1, 3 dc, ch 2, 3dc) 3 times and join to first chain with sl st. Break off yarn.
Rnd 3 Using bright blue, join yarn in any ch 2 corner. Ch 3 2 dc, ch2, 3 dc in ch 2 sp. (ch1, 3dc, ch1, 3 dc, ch1) in ch 1 space. (3dc, ch2, 3dc,) in ch 2 corner and continue in this pattern to end of round. Join to first ch with slip st and break off yarn.
Rnd 4 With white, repeat rnd 3 including an extra 3 dc cluster in the extra ch 1 space on each side. join at end of round but do not break off yarn.
Rnd 5 Sl st over and into first corner ch 2 spthen ch 1, sc in same sp. * Hdc in each of next 2 st, dc (in next st, in nextch1 space work 2 tr, ch2, 2tr)dc in next dc, hdc in next 2st, sc in ch1 space, repeat from * once but end repeqat in corner ch2 sp. repeat from * aonce moer and join with sl st.
Rnd 6 Ch 3 for first Dc, dc in nest 5 st to first ch 2 sp. (2dc, ch2, 2dc)in ch 2 sp, *dc in next 4 st, sk next 3 st, dc in next 4 st(2 dc,ch 2, 2dc) in next ch 2 sp. Dc in next 11 st to ch 2 sp, (2dc, ch 2, 2dc) in 2 ch sp. Repeat from * ending row with only 5 dc, join at top of ch3 at beginning. ZBreak off.
Rnd 7 join light blue to top of 3 ch3,. Ch 3 for first dc. Dc in each dc to next ch 2 sp (2 dc, ch2, 2dc) in 2ch sp, dc in next 5 dc, dk next 2 st,dc in next 5 st. Rwepeat from * around, join and break off yarn
Rnd8 Join med. blue to top of ch 3, ch 3 and repeat Rnd 7 from * except sk4 st, instead of 2. Join as brefore and break off.
Rnd 9 Join bright blue and work as round 8, break off and set aside.
Small corner blocks Make 4 to complete large block. With white yarn, use pattern instructions for Rounds 1 and 2 fasten off.
Sew one small block to each corner of large square.
Border Dc in each stitch around, work (2dc,ch2,2dc) in each of the corner spaces. Join and break off.
You will need to make 20 squares.
Arrange squares in a 4 X5 rectangle and sew together on wrong side through back loops only. Finish with a row of hdc in each stitch around edge and weave in all yarn ends.

I made this for Hubby so I chose more masculine colors, as shown here.
granny square 101 part 2 005
Closer look at the block.
granny square 101 part 2 005A


Yesterday, I mentioned that I was making chili because I was expecting a house full of company. There were some requests for the recipe, so here it is.
I cook up 4 cups of pinto beans, with no seasonings.
When the beans are tender and the broth still pretty thin, turn them off.
Fry 1 lb. hamburger meat and 1 cup chopped onion until meat is done and onions translucent.
Add to the beans along with a 28 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis for mild chili or Rotel tomatoes with jalapenos for more kick, salt and chili powder to taste.
Add a cup of chunky salsa (optional).
Let that simmer slow until it is as thick as you like your chili.

If chili is too spicy for your taste topping with cheese helps to tone down the ‘bite’.
This made about a gallon of chili. Everyone except Hubby thought it was great, he thought it needed more chili powder. What does he know?


kids day at gramma's 007
I took this picture of my granddaughter helping in the kitchen.
When I looked at it, I was transported back about 60 years. There I was, standing on a chair in my parents kitchen, following directions from great-grandmother, grand-mother or my own mother. “Cooking”!
Then as my mind moved along the path of years, I could see my children and many nieces, nephews, family friends in my kitchen. All of them doing the same thing.
I don’t think anyone ever went on to become chefs, but we all came away with a basic set of skills and the concept that a kitchen is a great place to share thoughts, give comfort, and learn the blessing of ‘family’.


Fall is here, and that means it is time to make up a supply of tamales to stock the freezer. Hubby and I like them for a quick meal after hunting or hiking around outdoors.
I consider this labor and time intensive so I am glad it makes a good sized batch.
Since a couple of people asked about this, I am sharing
Bertie’s Tamales
This recipe was given to me by my sister in law, who is pretty famous in the family for her excellent tamales.
The recipe makes about 50 tamales. Any leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave still frozen for a minute to a minute and a half.

1 3 lb boneless roast. Most often we use beef, but pork, deer or a combination of meat will work fine.
10 cups water
1 medium onion quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
Cook this in a heavy pan or crock pot until meat is well done (falls apart) and tender.
If you use the crock pot, low for 6 hours is usually what I use. 2 1/2 -3 hours in a dutch oven seems about right.
Remove meat and allow to cool. Shred with fork, discard any fat.

Strain broth and save 6 cups. You will need to make the masa for the outside of the tamale.

Make red sauce: 2 ounces of dried chili peppers (you are on your own, these come from mild to scorching) I use a mix of anaheim and ancho.
3 cups water
¼ cup finely diced onion
½ tsp dried oregano
cumin, garlic, and salt to taste.

Break off stems and crack chili open, shake out the seeds, rinse well and drain.
Cover chilis with 3 cups water and let set 30 minutes to overnight. Drain.
Now, puree your chilis until they are about the consistency of tomato sauce. Keep smushing them with a spoon until all that is left of the peel is little flecks in the mixture an maybe a few seeds.
Add other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
Mix with the shredded meat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Your meat is ready and can be refrigerated or frozen or if you have the energy left made into tamales now.

For the tamales:
1 bag dried corn husks
6 cups masa harina
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt ( I use less)
¾ cups shortening (Do not try to use cooking oil)

Beat the shortening in a large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy, add masa, salt and baking powder, which you have stirred together alternately with the reserved broth.
Just add enough broth to make a creamy paste!

Soak the corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes, rinse to remove any remaining silk or debris. Drain well.
Assemble Tamales:
Spread 2 T. masa mixture on center of husk (husk should be about 6X8 inches) spread 2 T. filling on top then fold and roll up the husk and secure with toothpick or string.
Get steamer ready. Water does not touch the tamales! Set the basket up on custard cups or whatever, if you don’t have a steamer. I use a metal colander set on three 3 inch high custard cups. Water boiling just below basket, Stand tamales in your steamer. If you have an open end it obviously goes up.
Cover and reduce heat. Steam 40 minutes, adding more boiling water if necessary.


This morning Hubby wanted to watch Netflix. We use the Wii for that feature.
Of course, you have to have the controller to use it. And where wasw the controller?
That was the question. I looked all over the living room and in all the not necessarily logical places.
Finally in utter frustration I posted on Facebook “if anyone knows what happened to the Wii controller – please let me know! I have turned two rooms over hunting it”.
Of course, there were several responses, mostly alluding to furniture, grandkids or the animals…
Finally one mentioned the toybox, so I decided to dig through that.
It was in the toy box, stuffed inside a parrots body.
002
Major surgery was not required. ;) Now Hubby is scrolling happily trying to find a movie that suits him.


khloee in the kitchen 003
Along the paths of my Kitchen Memories are precious times spent with my great-grandmother, whose pies are still a legend and the recipes still baked today.
My grandmother, who lived with us as I was growing up and taught me how to make jelly and preserve food.
Then of course, my mother, she encouraged me in the kitchen with her skills. Feeding a good-sized family on a tight budget was something she did well.
Now we get to me, generation four, no longer the student, I have also become the teacher as the years have passed.
My daughters and their friends passed through the kitchen, learning all I could pass along. Most of them left with a hand written cookbook of favorites. Those that did not, call home from time to time. :)
The grand-kids, mostly their experience is with holidays. baking cookies, making candy and of course the twisting of the old hand grinder at Thanksgiving to make my mother’s cranberry relish.
Now a new generation begins the process. Great granddaughter joins me in the kitchen quite often these days. She lives not too far away and her parents. Yesterday we baked ‘granpa’s favorite cake’ and frosted it for dessert.
Maybe this has something to do with why I feel so comfortable in the kitchen. I think there may be a member or two of any of the seven generations there whenever I get ready to cook.


Well, my friends, it is still raining. The plinking or thundering sound of drops on the roof has sort of lost its pleasure. Walking on wet sponges was never much of a favorite thing to do and looking at the creek rushing where our road is supposed to be does not fill Hubby or me with elation.
Now that I have had my chance to grump and grumble, I will tell myself the blessings. I do not have to do laundry for a family and try to dry outside on a line. There was a time…
I don’t have to ‘go’ anywhere. We have food, water, a generator (just in case) and plenty of fuel for cooking.
I have crafts and books to keep me from going ‘stir crazy’.
There is the computer and phone for ‘outside contact’.
There have been moments when the sun has come out, sparkling on the water drops and a rainbow has arched across the sky. So I know that there is blue sky and God has not forgotten his promise.
I think the blessings outweigh the inconvenience.
I will wait, the rain will stop, and no doubt there will be a day we will wish for it to return.

In a Stew


Don’t you love summer? All that beautiful fresh produce coming form the garden to the kitchen?
Tomatoes seem to be pretty plentiful right now here on Sunrise Ridge. I thought I had better get some into jars, we sure can’t eat them fast enough! I decided to make some stewed tomatoes for later on.
So it began. Half an ice cream bucket of tomatoes, peeled and chopped, a cup or so of chopped onions, some celery, garlic and salt all went into a pot to simmer for a bit. Oh, it smelled so good!
Washed up some jars and prepared the lids while that cooked.
Filled up the jars, and put them into the water bath canner. Nice to have a reasonably cool morning to do this so the kitchen is not so steamy hot.
It didn’t seem like nearly as hard a job as it sounds when I describe it! I enjoy the process, the results and the idea that once more, I have good food on the pantry shelf ready to use.

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