Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pear Crisp

This is a fresh take on an old classic apple crisp.  Pears are in abundance this time of year and I had a yearning for something a little sweet and so this pear crisp recipe was born.


6-7 ripe pears (peeled and sliced)
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 T. flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup quick oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter

First, place sliced pears into an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish (that has been buttered).  Then combine cinnamon, granulated sugar, and 1 Tb. of flour.  Sprinkle over pears.  Then combine remaining dry ingredients and butter.  Sprinkle over pears.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  

This came out of the oven bubbly and smelling fabulous.  We added whipped topping (although if I had vanilla ice cream that would have been tempting).  Enjoy on a cold winters day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Honey White Loaves

My new favorite recipe for bread.  The ingredients are :

2 pkgs dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon salt
8-9 cups flour
 1. In a mixing bowl- dissolve yeast in warm water.  Then add butter, honey, eggs, salt and 4 cups of the flour.
2. Beat on low speed 30 seconds.
3. Beat non medium speed for 3 minutes.
4. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
5.  Turn dough onto floured surface and knead about 8 minutes or until smooth.
6. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  See above picture.
7. Cover and let rise till doubled 9 about an hour).  See photo below.
8. Punch dough down.
9. Divide dough into thirds and shape into loaves.
10. Place in greased pans and let rest until double (about 30 minutes).
11. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or golden brown.

 The above photo is after loaves have risen.  Yeah, I can't seem to divide the bread evenly.
The bottom photo is fresh out of the oven.
If you enjoy fresh bread this may be the recipe for you.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pumpkin Bread Says Fall

This time of year signals a lot of changes outside as well as inside our home.  Quick breads are breads made without the use of yeast.  Several loaves are made each year of pumpkin bread.  It all starts with the frozen pumpkin processed the previous year.  This can easily be purchased in canned form from your local grocer.

 Here is the recipe handed down in my family. 
Makes 3 small loaves or 2 regular loaves.  
3 1/3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups sugar

Sift dry ingredients together.  Then add the following ingredients:
1 cup shortening- I use vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin

Then mix until combined.  Beat until smooth. Pour into pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.   Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately one hour.  
 Above you can see the two baking pans ready to go into the preheated oven. As the loaves bake the house smells AMAZING! Test for doneness with a toothpick.
If desired you can add a powdered sugar glaze.  Ours never lasts long enough.  At most it gets spread with a little butter.  I will toot my 4-Hers horn  this recipe has won blue ribbons.  Eat in good health as you enjoy the fall foliage.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bread Making Time

When the weather becomes cooler I start thinking of baking.  One of the easiest recipes is a recipe for No knead bread.  Yes I said no kneading required.  The top photo shows step one.  First in a large bowl combine 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, 1/4 tsp. instant yeast, and 11/4 tsp. salt.  Add 15/8 cups water warm but not hot.  Stir until all ingredients combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rest for roughly 12 hours.  The photo below shows the mixture at rest.
After 12 hours more or less it will have risen and will look fluffy.
At this point what I did changes from the initial recipe instructions.  Original recipe and instructions here.I then heat the baking vessel(which should have a lid and could be cast iron) in a 450 degree oven.  After the oven has heated with baking vessel inside I sprinkle cornmeal in the vessel and coat my hands.  I more or less flop the mixture in the pan cover with the lid and place in the oven.  I bake covered 30 minutes then I remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.  When finished baking should have a nice golden brown color.  This is great with simple butter or with herb butter.
Herb butter- add fresh minced herbs a tablespoon to a 1/4 cup of soft butter.  Stir, the flavors to enhance the butter.  My husband prefers Italian seasoning added to  olive oil to dip the bread into.  This is a great recipe to start your baking this fall.
Yum. I will try to highlight more bread recipes this fall...stay tuned.

Monday, September 22, 2014


I don't know about you but when  was a kid several of us girls loaded up in the car and scooped the loop downtown. We would occasionally stop at one of the local drive-through's for tacos or burgers and go back to driving around.  There were a couple of years that found us piling many kids into a car for carload night at the local drive-in to watch the movies on the weekend.  I remember most of those times like they were yesterday.  Fast forward my teenage years are gone.  I am a responsible parent of two, yes two teenagers that are looking for things to do on the weekends.  That brings me to how things have changed.  In years past we called on the phone to make plans with friends and  now days texting is the mode of communication.  Even when my kids are dating someone they rarely talk on the phone and instead send text information.  My daughter and her friends meet at the theater to watch a movie, one of several offered each night.  My son, on the other hand, has found bonfires a great place to gather with friends.  They rotate who brings what snacks, beverages and the exact location of the event.  The last couple of years our oldest has lamented upon the senior's graduation how will the ones left behind continue on and have fun.  Well we have arrived at my son's senior year in high school and just like last year he is inviting some of the younger classmen to the next bonfire.  As his mom I again have asked what is his share to contribute- water bottles? hotdogs and buns? or chips and cookies?  He assures me by the weekend I will have a list. I again look forward to the bonfire season as my kids are making memories that will last a lifetime.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Change of Seasons

This weekend in the U.S. marks Labor Day and the unofficial start of fall.  This time of year several things begin the transition to cooler weather, a somewhat slower pace and more thoughts of winter ahead.  The first thing noticeable is that the garden is winding down.  The tomatoes are slowing down production and no longer can we harvest enough to make a batch of salsa in one picking.  The remaining tomatoes will be picked a few at a time and kept until collecting enough to make a batch of fresh pasta sauce.  The remaining potatoes need to be harvested and the grapes need to be picked.  The popcorn planted so many months ago needs to continue to dry even though the stalks are turning golden brown.  Octobers cooler weather will likely bring in dry conditions to then bring the popcorn inside.  Cleaning up the garden will take place in October as well to make planting easier next spring.  If we desire to grow garlic it will need to be purchased and planted in the next several weeks also.
As daylight shortens and temperatures slowly lower the livestock also takes notice.  We sell the animals that we don't intend to keep over winter.  The goat breeding stock is sold many times one to two animals at a time, with the remainder sold at a specialty auction for herd replacements.  There are always a few that don't live up to expectation and are sold at a separate auction.  Also sold are the poultry to make room for spring chicks.  A few rabbits are also sold as we start looking at breeding pairs for 4-H projects for next year.  This year my son has decided to sell all of his call ducks as he looks forward to a more rigorous school schedule and preparation for graduation.  This year we will be introducing a new nubian goat breeding line into the herd with the addition of a new herdsire.  It may take weeks to months to locate just the right animal for the job and make preparations for bringing the animal to its new home.  As our breeding plans start to take shape it is similar for other goat owners working toward improving their herd.  I look forward to spring as dry yearlings become first  fresheners to see if breeding hopes in years past have been realized.
I hear many people lament the start of the fall season, as winter is right around the corner, but I find it also an exciting time to plan for the future.  I enjoy seeing the barn full of hay, the pace of yard mowing slowing  down and a return to opening the windows day and night for cooler fresh air.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Making Friends

Last weekend I set out on yet another new adventure.  My husband and I went to Chicago.  He went his way to spend time with family and I went to Stitches Midwest.  In the weeks before the trip I let podcast listeners know I was planning on attending and I started to put together information about the podcast, blog and how to find me on Ravelry.  I decided upon this approach in order to make more contacts for the podcast, increase numbers in my ravelry group, and to make more friends.  I decided on business cards and added handmade stitch markers to the edge. First, I searched Vista Print for designs and sent in the order.  Then I needed to learn how to make stitch markers for knitting projects so off to You Tube I went.  After viewing a variety of how to videos I started the search for materials.  I ended up ordering from three sites online for a variety of beads, tools and the proper adhesive.  Upon their arrival, I started the design process and re-watched a few of the how to videos and started in bending wire.  By the end of a long weekend I had a ring made for almost every business card I ordered.  In the days right before departure I attached the stitch marker and secured them in a small cardboard box.  I know what you must be thinking (I likely forgot to bring them), I did remember.  My goal was to hand out several and I did just that to a few of the vendors, some of the shoppers, and at the podcaster meetup on Saturday.  I have already been in contact with a few of the people I met and I am making friends that have similar interests.  The take away from today's post is all about getting out there and meeting people.  The more friends the better!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

4-H Is Great For Kids

My kids started in 4-H when my oldest turned 9 and my little one was 7 ish.  I enjoyed the fair activities and friendships that emerged from the experience.  Kids can learn many skills from cooking, photography, woodworking and communication skills.  There is also an agricultural component that my family participates in.  There is also the usual pageant contestants and above is a picture of this years princess in her casual clothes. 

My son enjoying a little down time during the Expo.

One fun thing this year we had a country music concert by Mitch Goudy.  He is an up and coming artist and if you follow country music his name will be popping up.

The girls in Advanced Poultry Showmanship competition.

There is a lot of interest in the poultry area and we need every 4-Her we can find to help hold the birds when they are being judged.

The Reserve Champion Poultry exhibitor.

Another great project includes the dog project where they take the dogs to obedience and agility classes and compete in both of those areas during Expo week.  Some of the 4-Hers take animals from the local humane shelter.
Well at our house the big event is over for another year.  We will start planning this fall.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Busy Days

Daughter is learning to can pickled beets from the garden.

Dear husband has built and moved in his half grown chickens into the chicken tractor.

My daughter has passed her tech license exam for amateur radio on field day.

Balloon races with the family.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer is here and the garden is growing lots of goodies

This is our first pepper nice green and shiny from my daughters hydroponic project.

Our biggest green bean.  The majority are 1/2 to 1 inch long.

These are also banana peppers that have started.  Can anyone say salsa?

These are a nice size and I am just waiting for them to turn red.

Our sugar snap type peas are going gang busters.  Tonight I picked a gallon and my daughter will pick another gallon before the night is out.  They are good in salads, as a snack or in stir fry.

This is not the best picture of the first grapes but it is a nice picture of the mowed grass border inside the garden.  My FIRST grapes ever.  Now if I can figure out if they are for wine, jelly or snacking...
Stay tuned for more information about harvesting and how we use the produce as summer goes on.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival is over for another year.  This year it was held at the new location in Colfax, Iowa at the Jasper County fairgrounds.  It took place June 14 and 15th over a weekend.  The activities included sheep shearing and sheep herding demonstrations, hall of sheep breeds and a goat show.  There were several classes to enroll in as well  as a nice vendor market.  The classes offered quite a variety from needle felting, drop spindling, weaving, basketry and dying fiber and yarn.  A fleece show and silent fleece auction are also part of the fun.
This year I met several new knitters,  met up with fellow podcasters and shopped at vendors that I have been stalking.   I returned home with rolags from http://yarngeekfibers.com/  and I scored a fleece at the silent auction!  I was hoping to drop off a fleece with a processor  to be made into yarn but we didn't make the connection. 
I anticipate next year I will find myself shopping, talking with friends and bidding at the auction.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spring Cleaning Better Late Than Never

The holiday 3 day weekend last weekend started it all.  I had enough time to slow down a nd look around my home and it was apparent that our home needed spring cleaning and I should lead the way.  I began by organizing my craft area in my bedroom-emptying project bags, putting needles and patterns away and putting odd bits of leftover yarn in their rightful place.  When I finished that I was so pleased I went on to my bedroom closet (aka the other yarn spot)  and organized patterns and books.  From there I opened up my summer clothes and sorted into the 1.  need ironing pile, 2.  the give away pile and the rest on hangers.  I then refilled the summer bin with winter clothes to take back into storage. 
Today my daughter and I started to work on her room.  As a teenager she has little time between sports, 4-H, trap shooting and school event to do a thorough cleaning.  We started with her chest of drawers, then to the closet hanging items, closet shelves and around to her bed.  At about this point we both needed a break from sorting and folding and went for ice cream and to purchase more storage containers.  What the world would be like without lidded storage containers is any ones guess but I know my house would not look near so tidy. 
P.S.  No, I will not be sharing the photos- just know if this cleaning and organizing streak continues I will likely be back for more plastic bins...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Today has been a beautiful day.  We finally have abundant sunshine and temps are to be out of the danger zone for frost.  I put on my hand knit long sleeved pullover yesterday as it was STILL cool enough.  Last night my husband and I  covered up some of our more tender vegetables growing in the garden and in the hydroponic area.  I smelled the blooming lilacs for what I thought would be that last time this season as we were under a frost warning.  To my delight It did not frost last night.  I awoke this morning to the sun coming up and  the temperature was 38 degrees.
One of the volunteer activities I am involved in includes serving on my local conservation board.  I am relatively new in this group and today my husband, daughter and I drove to the various locations that the conservation board manages.  We saw lots of beautiful greens from the leaves on the trees, the grass that is growing to the many native plants.  At one location we caught sight of a scarlet tanager.  We have not seen one of those birds and they are as pretty as they sound and quite red indeed.  In an attempt to best use the land we manage we need to start our plans for the next fiscal season.  I wanted to be more knowledgeable about the existing facilities, locations and opportunities for each so a field trip was in order.  Some areas are to continue to be in native prairie and we need to look at better control of invasive species.  Other locations could benefit from improved parking and access to the bodies of water for canoeing or fishing.  We enjoyed our hiking and when it was time for lunch we grabbed sub sandwiches and ate at the next location on the list.  A great day was had by all.  We came upon one family fishing, another out on a nature walk and some likely looking for the last morel mushrooms of the season.
When you have the chance to visit one of the parks, lakes or prairies please think about how you too can become involved to make it a better place.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung!!

This weekend we worked on several outdoor projects.  In the garden we planted butternut squash, zucchini, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, several herbs.
 They are in among the rhubarb, asparagus, potatoes, and onions.  I picked the first batch of asparagus today.
My daughter started working a hydroponics project with peppers.

The tomato seedlings and lettuce seedlings are growing nicely in the house near the window.  
The single surviving grape plant is blooming.  Our pear trees and apple trees are also in bloom.
 Our biggest lilac bush is also beginning to bloom and around here the rumor is when they bloom it is morel mushroom season.  I have yet to go out looking but I likely will.  The only negative about morel mushrooms happens to be the proliferation of ticks this time of year...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A lot has happened this week. 
A.  I have turned another year older the big 45.
B.  I have decided to continue with a goal I set previously in the year to spin enough fiber specifically for a sweater.
C.  I went to the First Annual Stache Dash 5k in out town that our local high school put on to raise money for school supplies to be sent to Africa.
So I have sorted through my fiber stash for fiber to use to start the spinning in May.  I plan to train for my first 5k in the next year.  I started training last fall but became derailed over the winter.  When restarting back pain limiting me in both the running and walking.  That seems to be somewhat better (we will see how well I can sleep tonight).  I figure there is no better time than the present.  Do I intend to win- no just respectably finish the race.  I plan to start and finish the sweater quantity of spinning.  Then this time next year can find me another year older, stronger and on the way to more projects. 
P.S.  I even bought a copy of Runner's World today.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hello All, 
I should probably confess that I am a little obsessed with the weather.  I think is payback for chiding a coworker years ago that was similarly obsessed.  This is not in the spring only, nor is it just when baby goats are to arrive or during planting the garden.  I plan to eventually get to the weather spotter training but alas two years running it has not worked out.  I felt I needed to make that confession as I am going to mention out crazy weather.  It is Spring here and we have had weather way too warm (yesterday at my daughters track meet it was 81 degrees and over the last 12 hours we have had storms, pouring rain an inch size hail.  Part of the state is now having snowfall and we are predicted to have temps below freezing at night.  Of course as luck would have it our son is to have a tennis tournament and our daughter will have difficulty staying warm during the track meets scheduled for this week.  Our last and final batch of baby chicks due to arrive in the mix as well.  This return to cold has me thinking about warmer food. 
Tuscan Sausage and Potato Soup http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/tuscan-sausage-and-potato-soup
11/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1.4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 cups Swiss chard
2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1. Cook sausage and drain.
2. In a Dutch oven combine potatoes, broth, water, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and cover 18-22 min. until potatoes are tender.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes or until chard is tender. 
This is a wonderful soup that everyone enjoyed today.  I hope you will also.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Just a quick note to let everyone know I am now able to sleep through the night--we are done having baby goats.  The last doe to kid was a white angora that gave us twin all white bucklings!!  Out of a total of 9 does Nubian and Angora we have 16 kids.  Hopefully with more sleep my crafty mojo will improve!  We will chat again soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have found out that taking pictures of little wiggly baby goats is not near as easy as one might think.  One of two things happen when you walk into the goat pen-A: either they are excited and they run toward your legs to be petted, or B: run toward their mom for safety.  Either way I have taken many pictures of blurry fur balls.  I will post a few of the ones that hopefully you can tell it is a goat.

I am up in the night checking on the one last angora doe that has yet to have her babies.  Of course mother nature has decided since the kids are on spring break the weather should go back to cold and winter like requiring more frequent trips up checking that doe.  I think she will have babies in the next day or two but I have honestly thought that for the past few days.  Yes she is bred, she is moving around eating and drinking fine.  I am just an impatient soul ready for a full nights sleep. 

I made a pot of chili yesterday to help take that chill off of the family.
1(15 ounce) can chili beans in sauce
1(15 ounce) can kidney beans drained
1 pound ground meat cooked and crumbled
1 packet chili seasoning
1(1 5ounce) can diced chopped tomatoes
2(15 ounce) cans tomato sauce

Mix all ingredients in large stockpot and cook until heated through.  This will serve about 6.  This is very thick and stew-like.  We top with grated cheese just before serving and often serve with cornbread muffins.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

One good thing about the prolonged cold weather is the continuing enthusiasm for knitting sweaters.  I am currently working on my Moxie Pulloverhttp://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/moxie-pullover by Amy Christoffers made with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed yarnhttp://www.knitpicks.com/yarns/Wool_of_the_Andes_Tweed_Yarn__D5420211.html in the garnet heather colorway.  I have plowed through the majority of the body section and should be on to the sleeves by mid-week.  This week I have had some extra time to search for the next sweater project(or two) and search for yarn.  There are sooo many yarns that I woud like to try out.

This week has also brought with it a new round of colds for the family and new additions to the farm.  Kidding season has begun!!  I have decided to name the babies after bands/singers or musicians.  The angora babies will be named after 80's hair bands(frankly this idea cracks me up). I have Earth, Wind and Fire as a trio of Nubian doelings born yesterday.  I hope to post pictures of some of our new arrivals soon.

I hope you and yours are healthy and happy and may you listen to some music from the 1980's and think of me.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Patience is a virtue.  My parents would say that to me when I was a kid.  Still true today.  I am yearning for nicer weather and last week we were lucky enough to have a couple days to melt the snow and now we are on the way back into the deep freeze not able to get above freezing for the balance of this coming week.  
I started a new sweater knitting project.  I actually can read and usually fairly well but after four restarts on this sweater I was beginning to doubt it.  Just this afternoon I realize I made yet another mistake( that I am deeming a design element).  I have decided this one is workable and I can continue past it.  This sweater is the first one to have sleeves-at first I thought I must secretly be afraid of them (and hence the mistakes). YIKES!!
After all that frustration I decided to try my hand at a little cooking.  I decided a few weeks ago to cook meals ahead on the weekend to make weeknight meals easier.  It really does work.  Today I baked a turkey, made side dishes, coffeecake and made a quick snack.  For those of you who enjoy the sweet and salty combo here is a fast recipe for you:  Fast almond bark pretzels.
Almond bark
parchment paper and quart size zip top freezer bag
Take 1/2 a standard size bag of pretzels any shape will do and lay out on 2 pieces of parchment paper one layer thick.
Open plastic bag.
Take 1/2 package of almond bark and place in microwave bowl  microwave 60 seconds stir and another 20-30 to completely melt.
Pour melted bark into plastic bag, cut off a small bottom corner and quickly drizzle bark over pretzels.  Let cool, break up and enjoy.  We store ours in another zip topped storage bag gallon sized.  Recipe can be doubled.
Have you had any opportunities to cultivate any patience this week?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Today finds us digging out from the snow that fell over the last two days and preparing for the icy mix that is predicted for overnight.  The last of the livestock barn has been scooped and all the animals have been fed and all have access to plenty of water.  Our second batch of chicks (from http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html are scheduled to arrive sometime this week.  The good news is that temperatures are on the rise to above freezing for the week.  The first batch of chicks are a couple weeks old now and are staring to grow their first real feathers.  This second batch will also be 4-H projects and of the egg-laying variety. 
A couple weeks ago I needed a boost and went back to the fabric store and found some half yards of beautiful fabric and today decided to start a new sewing project.  It is the Japanese Knot Bag that I found located here http://showyourworkings.wordpress.com/2008/03/03/japanese-knot-bag/
Now to search for the right yarn for the project bag.  I think given my recent purchases I will be setting at the sewing machine often in the next several weeks.
.This weekend has also found me checking into the webpages of a few more colleges that have majors that may interest my oldest teen.  He in his mind has picked the ideal one already and feels that the search is over.  Chances are in a year or so he and I will both know the answer... to be continued.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

This week has been busy.  My teenagers both belong to a local 4-H club and they show (among other things) poultry.  The first batch of baby chicks arrived in the mail.  Since it has been so cold this winter we needed a warm place with a heat lamp and the chicks began their life of luxury in out basement.  The good news is that the weather is to moderate and the chicks will be moved midweek to the next location outside with a heat lamp in predator proof quarters.

My oldest signed up for his first try at the college ACT test.  It was an eye-opener for me as the required paperwork is quite lengthy. The college planning process is new to this household and I hope we are not missing any big things.  We will be finding out at the end of the month if he will be inducted into the Torch Club as well as his senior year class schedule.

I am fed up with the snow and cold.  I went back to the fabric store and went a little crazy buying more material for knitting project bags all in Spring colors/themes.  Today I packed up all my store bought sweaters(except one for Valentine's Day).  This week I plan to change out my snowflake dishes for spring flower themed ones and take the snowflake sheets off the bed.  I am quite ready for the season to change and for warmer weather to arrive.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Today we find ourselves digging out from the most recent snow, filling feeders, checking automatic waterers and giving vaccinations. Six weeks before the doe goats have babies we give booster shots and supplements to protect them for another year and give their babies the boost they will need after birth.  We have fewer goat numbers than we have had for many years primarily because my 4-Hers (aka teenage children) are becoming so involved in other things that  I have less help getting the work done.   The funny thing about this time of year my mind goes into overdrive about what to add to this years routine.  I get seed catalogs and have grandiose ideas of what to plant and harvest.  I am usually looking to the farm advertisements for chick days to purchase more chicks.  As well as I look at breeds of livestock and dream about the time when I can start a spinners flock of sheep.  My husband is less enthused on all fronts but I continue to check websites for breeders for just the right breed of sheep.  What will most likely happen is that I will instead shop for a fleece or two this year to get my fleecy fix.
Today football reigns as it is the day of the Superbowl.  My favorites are the television commercials and the food.  This recipe is from my mother in law and the recipe card looks well worn and much loved and it will be served during the game.

Hot Dog Appetizers
Take 1 pound package of hotdogs and cut into 1 inch pieces
Mix in a pan 1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pkg (approx.1ounce) brown gravy mix
1/4 tsp. tabasco sauce
Bring ingredients in pan to a simmer to dissolve sugar then add hotdogs.  Heat through and serve with toothpicks.

May your plans for 2014 take shape.  Let me hear some of your ideas.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Today brings a flurry of activity at our home as the annual high school Sweets and Sounds event takes place tomorrow.  In the past both of my teens have been involved either in the show choir or jazz band. It is a fun evening where as a parent you can see how the hours of practice all come together.  One of my favorite volunteer activities is baking sweet finger foods that will be served during the event.  I begin searching for new ideas as soon as the most recent creations have been consumed.  On this years menu are brownie bites (I used a small biscuit cutter to make polka dot-like brownies) and red velvet mini cupcakes http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/red-velvet-cupcakes-114532.aspx .
This week in knitting I have finished one new Patons Kroy sock.

Next week I hope to start the second. I have seen some beautiful pictures of drawers of hand knit socks recently and  I thought I would take a picture of most of my collection.
Sock knitting appeals to me as they are easily portable and there is a vast amount of beautiful sock yarn available. Are you knitting a sock for your sock drawer?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Well so much for the milder weather of my last post.  Today barely into the teens and tonight -25F with wind chill.  I have added pictures of the feed sack tote and my second project bag with crocuses blooming.  The project bags with hold all the yarn, needles, pattern etc for a sweater project.
 I added a knit meter to the blog today.  I am interested to have an idea of how many yards of yarn I use in a year.

Life on the farm is quiet this time of year with feeding and watering the poultry and goats.  We raise Nubian dairy goats and Angora goats.  The fiber goats came along after I fell in love with spinning and curly locks.   I am looking forward to this years baby goat crop in early March.  The dairy goats will have spots and splashes and the angoras were bred to a new charcoal colored buck for a multicolored kid crop.

I am the type that does like to set yearly goals.  I try to meet them although my success varies. One goal I am hoping to reach is during the Olympic Games finishing the fleece I started spinning during Tour De Fleece last summer.  This particular fleece is actually CVM and is a light gray. Also knit at least 2 sweaters, spin up enough fiber to make a full sweater.   I also would like to attend a new- to- me fiber/yarn event.  Last goal is start an audio podcast.  I may be overly ambitous- time will tell.  What are your goals for 2014?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today is the kind of day you look forward in Iowa in January-above normal temps and abundant sunshine.  Since deciding to knit sweaters it has come to my attention that I need bigger project bags.  A year or so ago I made some using this tutorial on youtube .  I have found this pattern to be easily understandable since I a not much of a seamstress and can be sized smaller for your project bag needs.  My only changes include no drawstring to tighten.  Instead adding loops of 2 sizes for a closure.  I have one more bag in the works I will try to post when it is done.
My next inspiration is to make feed sack totes.  This struck a chord with me as we live on a farm and have a selection of feed sacks.  These could be reusable shopping bags, they could be used at the pool etc.  http://www.instructables.com/id/Feed-Bag-Tote-Bag/.
I have decided the next sweater to knit http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shalom-cardigan.  I am using Cascade 128 in the Blue Velvet colorway.  Let me know what you are crafting.