Monday, January 31, 2011

Baker in the Making

Last week Flower Girl baked the best Ginger Snap's Ever! She got the recipe from All , Mom's Ginger Snaps. Love that site, great resource! She made the first batch with a little help from me. Then the following night she made a double batch all by herself. Half for her class and the rest my workplace X-Rated Dining Divas luncheon. The third night when I got home from work she had made another batch independently once again. Not to shabby for an 8 year old. Last night she made peanutbutter cookies. Now I just need to train her to do the dishes after ;) Hoping her love for cooking continues!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moments That Make It All Worthwhile

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE age 8?
Last night when I was helping Flower Girl cook some goodies for her school lunch she said ...."Mom you know what I love? I love cooking with you and I love spending time with you."
A few hours before that she gave me a story she wrote at school.
By Flower Girl
Moms & Dads
deadectated to my mom and dad
Moms and dads are the best thing every. they're the only person I love and will always love for every. They take care of you feed you buy you thing you need or want. They're everything to a kid and a kids dream of having because they can't live with out partents because the can't live by them self they need parents and I swear they are the best thing in the world. I love my parentes so much I wish I could spend every momnet I have with them. I love you so much mom and dad I really do.
Do I have the sweetest kids or what? Hoping to reflect on this letter when she is 16 ;) The picture above was taken just before the Father/Daughter dance.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Change in Plans

Not a whole lot to say this week but I sure did do a lot of thinking!

This week I made a trip to the cancer center. It was not to fill in as the imaging department nurse which I have done in the past. It was not to accompany my old farmer for his chemotherapy treatments which I've done a good many times. This past Wednesday I made my first trip there as a patient.

To date in 36 years of life I truly think this week was the most difficult. Right up there with the week I lost my grandfather. I went for my consultation & simulation at the cancer center. The consultation left me stunned and speechless. Sadly, I proceeded on to the simulation. (can only imagine what I am going to get for a bill for that) Talk about a humbling experience, almost surreal. That evening and upon awakening the following morning the tears never stopped flowing. Can't really explain but my gut feeling was that this treatment was not the right choice in my circumstance. I know it has been done previously to treat this condition but the long term effects of radiation just seemed too risky and there were too many unknowns. If I am to go through with this treatment I need a second and/or third opinion that agrees. The following day when I went into work and immediately called the cancer center and to put my treatments on hold and confided in the the doctors I work with. Long story short they contacted a few specialists and sent my records to doctors at Dartmouth-Hicthcock Hospital in NH and John Hopkins in MD. You might be a little unique if they say they are going to present your case at an upcoming conference. I am feeling truly blessed! In a much better place now. Looking forward to proceeding with this process and getting things taken care of even if it does put me in the poor house ;) or on a plane. (I've never flown) Next step, bone scan. Should know more in the next couple weeks. Will be talking Farming soon... I promise! It is almost time to get planting for the greenhouse. Happy days ahead!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

3 Clues ~ day 17

Maine Man is restoring something really special
Given to me by my farmer friend. Manufactured in 1933.
Can you guess what I am getting?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Birds of a Feather Flock Together ~ day 16

Maine Man has his Ducks in a Row! ;)
Ha.....the morning after MM processed all the drakes but 1 he found this sight in the barn.
All the Muscovies were high up on a beam out of reach from MM.
They wanted NO part of the Merry-Go-Round aka Chicken Plucker.
Couple FUN facts about MM's Chicken Plucker Post
  • It is the #1 visited post of this blog
  • Yesterday out of 339 visitors to this site 75 of them were checking out that post
  • Since he posted that in Jun 09' it has been viewed 9,409 times

Impressive, huh? I give him the spotlight just twice and he steals the His other post that is quite popular is a how to skin a pig.

Stolen picture from a friend that I gave a duck too, too pretty not to post. MM processed 11 ducks, we gave 2 away and we've eaten 1 so far. We all enjoyed, I think it tastes similar to roast beef. Not something you'd eat every week but good for a change.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Real Deal ~day 15

Initially I was not sure that I would even post this information but seeing how I have nothing to hide and would like to set the record straight for those who have been misinformed. And out of respect for my friends & family that have yet to hear what is going on the information will be most accurate coming directly from the source.
Rumor has it I have cancer, I guess no one is to blame after hearing the words tumor & radiation in the same sentence. What I do have is a cervical hemiangioma (a benign vascular tumor in my neck). I have probably had it my entire life however it has progressed throughout the years. Hemiangiomas of the spine are very common however they are usually found in the lower vertebrae (lumbar and/or thoracic region) and they do not usually encompass the entire vertebral body as mine does. The orthopedic neurosurgeon I saw said I am only the second case he has actually see in his many years of practice.
Long story a little shorter.....I have had neck pain since my 20's which has progressed. I was seen a few times with no real findings and just resumed to living with intermittent pain. Last February I was asked to be a test patient for a neck MRI and the hemangioma was an incidental finding. Fast forward 9 months later.... the frequency and severity of my pain was worsening. I consulted with a couple other doctors and after very little convincing from Maine Man I went to see my PCP and then was sent to an Orthopedic Neurosurgeon who then consulted with some of his colleagues due to the rarity of my case.
The worst case scenarios with this cervical hemiangioma is a compression fracture potentially leading to paralysis and/or uncontrollable bleeding if I were to emergently require surgery.
The plan.... I will be receiving radiation therapy starting in approximately 2 - 3 weeks. I will receive 20 treatments total, 5 days a week for 1 month. I will be watched closely throughout and thereafter in hopes that the bone will grow back and/or scar tissue will replace the tumor. I am hopeful that this treatment will work but if it does not I will have to have neck surgery to fuse my vertebrae.
With this new adventure the commitment to post here on my blog everyday in 2011 will not happen but I will still try to post frequently. My plan is to sneak my camera into the cancer center and share some bits & pieces of my journey.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life ~day 14

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
~Mother Teresa
Picture courtesy of my friend Marie. Thanks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Makes Me Tick ~day 13

A couple months back I was talking with one of the doctors at work who loves to cook. He said "I love to cook because food makes people happy and I like making people happy."
I couldn't have said it better. So true!
I thought about posting this tonight while I was making Flower Girl a batch of soup at 8pm for her lunch tomorrow. She wanted no part in bringing in a little can of Campbell's. I've created a monster ;) After the ROUGH week I've had what I really wanted to do was kick back but sometimes you just do things out of love.
In the end it always pays off. When I came up to bed she had a glass of ice water on my bedside table, and "I Love You" stick-it note on my computer, she had folded and put away the laundry that was on my bed, and a BIG thanks for making her soup.
And it also helps when Maine Man says things like.......
"I love that you love to cook. I love that you cook with the kids. And I love to eat the food you cook"
If he only knew I wrote down what he said to me way back on 12/31....I'm not to be trusted, lol. God I love that man!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Simple Pleasures ~ day 12

"That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest"

~Henry David Thoreau

I borrowed this quote from Susy over at Chiot's Run, a chronicle of an organic garden. She has a lovely blog. If you never visited I encourage to.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Little Onion Chopper ~ day 11

No need in crying when your cooking up dinner.
Clever and effective idea the kids came up with.
In the past I have refrigerated the onions prior to cutting them up.
I thought that was effective but I am not always good at planning that far ahead.
Sad to report but these are store bought onions. (ha, actually this picture just above is celery, lol) Last year's harvest was marginal. This year Maine Man will try to grow them in ash as it has been said to be an effective way of growing onions. What about you? Do you have any tricks to cutting up onions without fighting back tears? How about growing onions? Any gardening tips to share? Would love to hear all your secrets!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bob Strikes AGAIN ~ day 10

He is EVIL, I swear!
Meanest animal on the farm!
SOON to meet his maker.....
Last week I was the target as I bent over to feed the chickens. He wasn't even phased by the pitch fork I was holding. I was tempted to end him right then. This morning my Dad was the victim. Drew blood and all, even left a spur in his leg. If you've ever been victim of a rooster attack you know how painful it is. I may insist on doing the kill as I have been the victim of most of his attacks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Duck Eggs- day 8

Duck eggs are my ABSOLUTE favorite to bake with! I cherish them in the winter because it is the only season of the year I get them. The rest of the time the hens are either sitting on a nest of eggs for hatching or they are free ranging at the pond. They don't seem to be as ritualistic as chickens laying in the same spot. They are real good at hiding their eggs.
The shells are like 100 times thicker then a chicken's egg
(slight exaggeration on my part but you get my point)
Not like a chicken egg. If you have hens you know the deal. You slip it in your pocket, accidentally lean against something and you have a pocket full of yokey nastiness. Do you know how many times I have done that?
I have lost track. Even did it once at the kids school.
Waiting for them to get out, stuck my hand in my pocket and you know it.
I learn lessons hard and slowly.

Have you ever baked with duck eggs?
You must try just once. The only way to describe the end result is "fluffier".

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hoop House Update - day 7

It's been a while since I have wrote about the happenings in the hoop house. For good reason, not a whole lot going on. Last year was our first year with it. We started the season eating lettuce as early as April and the last of the greens were devoured in December. What's left? Leeks.... as pictured above.
Empty compared to summer.

Lots of little carrots.
Next year the plan is to plant our second planting MUCH earlier.
We were a little behind this past fall.
Live & Learn..that is what gardening is all about!
Maine Man will be installing our old wood stove in the hoop house soon. So then I will officially be able to call it our green house. Looking forward to Spring planting, it will be here in no time!
PS. TO THE LOCALS...... I just signed up for a bee keeping class!!! If anyone is interested in joining me send me your e-mail address and I will give you more info.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Putting Food on the Table ~ day 6

Today we let the kids play hooky. They went out ice fishing with Maine Man.
Country Boy's first Pike (5 lbs)
And a 1 lb Brook Trout

They waited for me to get home and see the fish before they cut them up.

Some people take their kids out of school to go on elaborate vacations. We let ours skip out for an occasional hunting and/or fishing trip because MM often works the weekend.

To make myself feel guilt-free I consider it a Homeschool Day;)
Subjects covered today: Science, Phys.Ed, Math, and Home Ec
Can you guess what we are eating tonight?
In my next life I plan to be an independently wealthy, homeschooling, stay-at-home Momma. (with a Nanny for respite ;)
For now I will just be thankful that I only have to work part-time. And although we do not technically homeschool I can find comfort in all the ways we supplement our children's education.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

No Cream Creamy Broccoli Soup - day 5

Last weekend I made this soup. It is currently Flower Girl's favorite soup. She is a soup lover just like me. There is just one big problem the base is chicken stock as most of the soups I make are. I am currently out of stock and flipping out because I refuse to buy that watery, overpriced crap in the store. Here we are in the midst of soup season....waaaaa. Not only am I out of that but I am almost out of chicken. Can you say CRISIS? Somebody was not paying good attention to the freezer stock and Maine Man is not into getting broilers for a couple more months. Booo Hooo.... I am going to have to buy flippin' chicken at the meat market. That may just about kill me. Enough with the drama, right? ;)
This recipe comes from a magazine titled Kraft food & family
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • Approx 30 ounces of chicken broth ~use the canned stuff if you must ;)
  • 2 cups of water (I used all broth, NO water)
  • 2 small bunches of broccoli, trimmed, cut into 3 inch lengths (whatever, I don't follow directions well. Maine Man will agree to that. He also says I have issues when told what to do.....I disagree)
  • 1/2 cup on uncooked minute rice (I used regular whole grain rice)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (I used more)

Lots of salt & pepper (my own addition)

  1. Cook & stir carrots, onion, and celery in hot oil in large sauce pot on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and water (again I say no water). Stir & bring to boil.
  2. Stir in broccoli & rice. Reduce heat simmer for 10-15 minutes (I did longer to cook the rice.) or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add soup in batches to blender or food processor. Blend until pureed. Return soup puree to pot. Add milk & cheese. Cook until heated.

So in my hysteria I went to the butcher shop and ordered 40lbs of chicken bones. MM thinks I'm insane. I kinda like it that way :) I MUST have chicken stock! I'll admit I am a bit of a food hoarder. Is there a TV show about that. Maine Man would sign me up.....LOL

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wicked Easy Yogurt - day 4

This recipe comes from one of my co-workers. I will make it again for sure!

Supplies needed: 1 gallon of milk, 1 small plain Greek yogurt, cheesecloth (a fine strainer may do the trick)

  • Pour milk in pot and heat to 190 degrees, whisk as heating.

  • Cool to 120 degrees (I place the pot in a larger bowl with cool water running into the bowl until it reached temperature)

  • Add yogurt

  • Place in a container, then I put it in one of the kids insulated lunch boxes. My friend says she uses a cold/hot bag

  • Place it in the oven overnight

  • In the morning pour onto cheesecloth and let drain 2-4 hours

  • Stir & refrigerate.

I typically do not care for plain yogurt but I liked this. Just had to add some granola to spice it up a bit. Next time around I may try to flavor it. Anyone have any experience with this? I could use a little direction. I am also curious as to how long it is good for?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Making Crutons - day 3

The other day I had a few bread ends I thought I'd make use of.
It was super quick & easy!
  1. Cut the bread into cubes
  2. Drizzle w/ melted butter
  3. Add spices - I used garlic & onion power, basil, and oregano

Bake at 225 until crunchy (15 minutes or so)

The kids LOVED them and so did Maine Man.

It is always nice when you make everyone happy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Muscovies - day 2

When we first bought Muscovies the intention was for meat and eggs. As everything here on our small farm, it must serve a purpose. Well.....we came to liking them and they became a novelty around the farm. We occasionally sell some to a friend that takes them to market and bring others to auction. Maine Man just really hates killing them and our freezers have been well stocked. We have only eaten one and honestly it was the best duck we've ever had! One word to describe what they taste like is roast beef. Any how we are couple months into winter here and we have too darn many of them! In the summer even if we have a bunch they are mostly at the pond but this time of year they are in the barn and the door yard. A little too much poo for my liking. Yesterday when I pulled in the yard between the ducks & the chickens I thought for sure I was at a freakin zoo. So today MM is doing the deed along with his 8 year old daughter as I hide inside doing chores and preparing lunch. Not a good day to be a duck on the farm.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - day 1

It is hard to believe another year has passed us by. When we are young the time doesn't seem to go fast enough and as we get older the years seem to fly right by, funny how that is. Not much for resolutions here...same old, loose a few pounds and such. Each year I like to pick a theme and stick with it. 2 years ago I proclaimed that it would be the year of the berry. We planted strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries that year. Last year the theme was bread and even though it took me until November to get a grip on it I did it. Found a recipe that was easy to make and now we have homemade bread readily available. This year I will be the Year of the BEE. Will see if my dreams come true....they usually do if I wish hard enough;) In addition to that I will be writing about my experiences with making gelato, yogurt, and feta cheese, and soap just as soon as I attempt it. Before you know it the greenhouse will be in full swing. We've already talked about starting some seedlings inside. Cheers to a New Year filled with new adventures.