Saturday, December 31, 2016

as the sun sets on 2016

Not a big celebrator of the New Years but a pretty sunset on one of the last days of the year seems kind of appropriate.  For me it  has been a challenging year and I am looking forward to a new start.  Not the whole year was a challenge, there were some really, really neat parts. 

My daughter, Nikole, got married to a really wonderful guy, Brad.  I officially became a mother-in-law and couldn't be prouder.  We had lots of opportunities to celebrate. 

There was a terrific engagement party to start things off.  My younger daughter, Caitlin, who was the maid of honor, determined the theme and decorations and both of the families helped with food.  Lots of their friends were able to join them for an evening of food and drink and visiting. It was a house party.  Her dad provided the house.  Lots of black and white and color photos in black frames and white platters and serving pieces.  The food was part Minnesota favorites and part Dominican recipes.  Great evening.   

The wedding was a destination wedding at a lovely resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic where we had several days of beach fun highlighted by a beautiful ceremony in April and followed immediately by cocktails and hors doerves and music during the pictures and later a outdoor candlelit dinner reception.  The bride was lovely, the groom handsome, both a little bit sunburned.  It was such a special time and I was so glad to be a part of it. 

In June there was a fun bridal shower held at my sister's house.  It was supposed to be a backyard party on her lovely patio and flower edged yard but the weather intervened and instead it was held in her cutely  decorated garage.  The extended family is quite large and it was well attended so lots of people, food, visiting and presents.  Food, visiting--I see a trend here... This time the theme was long tables filled with vintage china on gold chargers with beverages served from vintage punch bowls in matching cups.  The maid of honor's hobnail and milk glass vases were filled with hydrangeas cut from my mother's garden and lined the center of the tables.  My dad's  ambulance ride and hospitalization 90 minutes away 36 hours before the party made for a little last minute chaos and some tweaking of the plans but it ended up being a fun time.

The final event was a reception in July.  It was held in a brewery which was a fun venue.  Great appetizers and bar food set up as a buffet with a couple of different 'courses' and drinks.  The bride and groom selected a wonderful menu and did a great job with the decorations.  The decorations were floor length black tablecloths on some long banquet tables and some stand up pub height tables.  The groom built wooden boxes that held rosemary plants and those and hydrangea from their garden in vases topped the tables.  Some music and dancing.  And visiting. Such a great party. 

And since I haven't posted since Christmas

Some of my kids were home for Christmas.  Between them there were lots of invitations for celebratory meals with grandparents and the 'other side'.  We ended up having a light supper at the farm of butternut squash soup and bread sticks before heading into my folks for more food and presents there.  Here is a couple of quick pictures of the table.  We were originally planning to take the soup to town to have there and decided at literally the last minute to eat first and take only the 'planned-overs' to share.

We served the soup out of one of the soup tureens that I acquired while thrifting this summer.  My Christmas dishes are by Happy Holidays by Nikko.  Green check on the table, white candlesticks and napkins.  Gold chargers. Crystal napkin rings.  Matching Nikko stemware held ice water.  Wexford coasters held the bottles of beer that accompanied the soup.  The soup plates were filled from the tureen at the end of the table and passed.  The soup plates were a Christmas gift from Nikole and Brad last year and work great for either soup or pasta.   We gathered at the farm on the 23rd.  Nikole and Brad were missing as they have a very sick dog.  We missed them and hope that Indiana continues to improve.  Christmas Eve morning was brunch and then the rest of the day and Christmas Day I was at my parents with my siblings as my kids were with extended family. 

Happy 2017! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baby it's cold outside

This weekend winter arrived with a bang.  First a big snow on Friday and then bitter cold.  This morning it was -27 actual air temp, not wind chill.  Coldest day of the winter so far.  Our dogs, Codie, in the foreground and Sadie, lying and Elke, seated on the driveway--they spent the night in the house but now are loving the crisp sunny weather..  
I have finally gotten started with my decorating.  The wreath is up on the barn with a little dusting of snow on it.  It is hung on two thin ropes that are pulled from inside the hayloft through holes in the big door to raise it into place.  Usually when I hang it I have someone on the outside to tell me when it is the right height and centered.  This year I hung it by myself and it is not quite centered and it could be a little higher.  I wonder if I took the pic from a different angle if it would look better?  Or I could just adjust it when I have help. 
Our household has eight canine members when we are all together so a few years ago I switched from regular Christmas tree to a tabletop version.  We also have two cats so each year our tree becomes more pet friendly.  This year my tree is sporting only paper ornaments.  No lights, no breakable balls, just paper holly and berries that I made last year to match the tree skirt that was a gift from my sister.  This tree is real. There were only three to select from when I bought it two weeks ago.   It will look a little less Charlie Brown-like with some presents under it.  Our pets bring such happiness to our lives that I am not sad to not have a gloriously and elaborately decorated showpiece tree.  I will enjoy them at homes that I visit.  

The rest of my small trees are artificial.  This is the kitchen tree.

It is decorated with a /kitchen/food/baking theme, gingerbread boy ornaments and miniature rolling pins.

The kitchen is pretty eclectic but there is a black and white check that is found in several places and the red wall is repeated in the red accessories.  There are red lights on the garland over the stove and on the tree and red handles on all of the miniature rolling pins and spatulas.  I have used the same garland and tree for quite a few years and I enjoy the familiarity and comfort that comes with doing the same thing but I also enjoy new additions.  
I usually don't decorate the table in the center of the kitchen.  It is primarily a work surface but this year I found three steamed pudding molds when thrifting and so I am displaying them in a basket until it is time to use them.  This year I plan to make an old fashioned Christmas pudding.  I don't think that it will be a 'figgy pudding'.  I don't know that I have even seen figs for sale in our local, small town grocery store.  I did read that figgy pudding is made with figs but plum pudding does not use plums.  Funny.  I have been looking at some old recipes and hope to have a trial run sometime between now and the holiday when I plan to serve them to my family.  More decorating next post and a little about a fun recipe project that I am working on.

Sharing this at Between Naps on the Porch's Met Monday here. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving and the cordial 'after'

It is Sunday.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We were blessed to have out of state company for three days at my parents so I spent most of my time there.  We had a great visit.  It had been a couple of years since I had seen this aunt and uncle.  Health problems on their end and with my folks lately has made it a bit more difficult to get together.  As is the usual with Thanksgiving there was plenty of food.  And as has been the usual all to often I didn't get pictures.  I didn't set a fancy table since we were eating our meals in town at my mom's and dad's house but a few of my pieces did make it to the party.

Elderberry cordial
I did bring a salad with greens from the greenhouse. The mixed greens contained the more traditional romaine and other mild leafy lettuces as well as peppery arugula and spicy scarlet frill.  It was topped with goat cheese, walnuts and slices of pear.  I made some macarons.  I made homemade gelato flavored with elderberries from the farm and we sampled the elderberry cordial that I wrote about here.  We used the tiny silver cordial goblets from my collection that I wrote about here.  I hauled a Wexford punch bowl and cups to town to hold  Caitlin's and Robb's wine spritzer sangria and one of my white casserole dishes held Nathan's and Michelle's Brussels sprouts au gratin.  On Friday I provided a baked rice/mixed vegetable/almonds side dish.  We had three days of meals, Thursday was ham, Friday was turkey and Saturday was a fish fry of Northern and Walleye.  My brother brought his signature New York cheesecake and my sister brought her famous French Silk pie.  My mom had made an apple pie from my farm apples.

Early this morning our company headed home.  While they were here we managed to squeeze in some fun activities.  The night before Thanksgiving we had pizza and birthday drinks at a local brew pub to celebrate my son's upcoming birthday.  On Friday we made a trip to my favorite local thrifting haunt, the half thrift store/half antique store.  I didn't purchase anything this time but my uncle spotted a print of some loons on a lake that he took my brother back the next day to check out and buy.  On Friday one group of the guys did some target shooting with a friend of the family at his farm.  On Saturday a different combination of the guys did more target shooting at my farm.  We had a tour of a niece's new home. My uncle, brother and I climbed up in the hay loft to check out the pulley that is used to raise the big door on the barn.  My uncle is searching for one but mine was not the style that he wants so no dismantling needed to be done.  I had hoped that we could squeeze in our Scandinavian (Norsk) baking day while my aunt and uncle were here but there was just not room for a full day of baking during their too short visit.  We did see some Hallmark movies and football games though.  All in all a great visit.

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A weekend of painting

This weekend we did some painting at Robb's house.  It went from a peachy tan with avocado green trim to a very pretty dark gray.  It was fun to get a group together to paint and we all brought food to share which was almost as much fun as the painting.  I brought a salad each day.  I have a few greens ready in the greenhouse and I used them for the salads.  Saturday I took a salad that was mixed greens, apples, candied pecans and goat cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Sunday I took an arugula salad with grilled watermelon, pistachios and mint with a honey lime dressing.  I blogged about the second salad here.  It was a new recipe and I will definitely make it again.  The recipe suggested that other grilled summer fruits could be substituted for the watermelon, perhaps peaches, plums or pears.
arugula salad

Friday, October 7, 2016

recent thrifting finds

Pictured above are a few fairly recent thrifting finds.  I haven't been thrifting lately.  I have been away from the farm some and my last few blog posts have been short and sweet. Thrifting and blogging have taken the backseat to fall chores. One post, coffee in the greenhouse, was only a picture.  

I will have to eventually get caught up on the happenings on the farm but for now it is mowing and putting the garden to bed and seeding the greens for the winter greenhouse. 

Above the top picture and the third picture are two wicker trays that I picture holding a cheese tray or antipasti.  Hard to gauge the size of the trays from the pictures but they are quite large and will serve several selections, enough to require another recent find--some porcelain cheese markers and little cheese knives.

The second picture is a large white tray.  I have a hard time passing up white serving dishes or baking dishes.  Actually, I have a hard time passing up white anything.

The fourth picture is a pair of steamed pudding molds.  The 'pudding' is the fruitcake type--what I think of as a Christmas pudding.  I think that they are German.  Our family is Swedish/German on my mom's side and Norwegian/German on my dad's side and we have always embraced the Scandinavian part of our heritage so it will be fun to try these for the German side.  I have not ever tasted this pudding.  Hope I like it.

The last picture is a Biscotti jar.  It says that it is handmade for Nonni's on the bottom.  Google tells me that Nonni's is a biscotti company and there are pictures of many, many styles of jars that were made to hold their cookies.  We have no Italian heritage but are fans of everything Italian.  It looks cute sitting next to my Moka pot and other coffee paraphernalia.  Someday it will be filled with biscotti.  Maybe after it snows...

Happy fall.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

a memorial bike ride

Back in 2009 my brother was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and within weeks of his devastating news our family and friends put together a team and walked in our first walk to raise funds. Now every September we do the closest ALS walk.  The JayWalkers have now walked in eight consecutive annual walks.  Our walk is small compared to some in the larger metro areas but our walk 40 teams, had over 700 walkers and raised over $100,000. 

Two years ago we participated in the wildly successful ice bucket challenge to raise awareness and raise funds for ALS.  Jay's former co-workers also raised money and did a group challenge at work.  We were invited to watch everyone get wet.  They raised over $600. 

This year a group of Jay's motorcycle friends put together a ride in his memory.  It is the first annual Jay Lenning Memorial Ride.  The picture below is the 'formal' picture taken at the first of four stops along the route.  My brother had a motorcycle from the time that he was 12 years old.  The first one was a minibike.  The last two were his beloved Harley Davidsons.  His bike is the one on the far left in this picture.  After his death my sister sold her motorcycle and bought his.    

There is a local bar that is frequented by riders and Jay was a part of this group.  When Jay was no longer able to walk they purchased a ramp so that his motorized wheelchair could make it into the bar.  There is a bar stool there with his name on it in memory.  It was the staff of this bar that conceived the idea of a memorial ride and put it all together. The bar's owner donated the pig for the hog roast. The riders were his many friends.  They contacted businesses for donations and paid to ride and paid to eat.  In total, more than $2400 was raised. 

Yesterday we met at the bar to witness the presentation of the check to a member from the ALS Association for our region.  Our family couldn't be more proud of this group of bikers.  They were great friends to Jay during his illness and so supportive of his widow after his death. Some people might be intimidated by the black leathers and bandanas but a better group of people would be hard to find.  The day of our ride there was another group riding for charity as well and this picture shows our riders' bikes parked on one side of the street and the other group's bikes across the street. 
I am not a rider.  I was in a pickup that followed behind.  I failed to get a close up picture of my sister on the ride.  The picture below is my youngest daughter, Caitlin, and her guy, Robb.  Robb has a motorcycle and Cait rides behind.  So glad that they were able to join us. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Bakealong

The September bakealong recipe was a pumpkin muffin with a sweetened cream cheese center and a streusel topping.  King Arthur flour's website provides the recipe each month and some step by step directions.  This is the second month of fun and I posted a picture of my first attempt here.

Here is the picture I submitted for month two.

It was fun and easy to do.  I had taken them to my mom's house to share.  It is her colorful tablecloth and Minnesota shaped cutting board.  My daughter Caitlin took these pictures.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I am not big on social media.  I do facebook, kind of, but I don't Twitter and until today I didn't do Instagram. Why the change?  And why now?

In August the online newletter from King Arthur Flour announced that they were starting a bakealong.  Each month they would put out a recipe and all of those interested could bake the recipe and send their photo of the finished product or the process to King Arthur Flour and they would be displayed on their website.

The August recipe was a bread and I made the bread and took a couple of pictures and then I was stuck.  The pictures sat in my phone for a while.  I had checked with my much more Instagram savvy daughter who assured me that I could add a previously taken photo on Instagram  My bread was tasty, my pictures were taken and I stalled setting up an Instagram account.  I am not sure why I stalled.  There are people that I know on Instagram and bloggers that I read on Instagram that I would like to 'follow' but you need an account in order to do that.  So it makes sense that I would 'do' Instagram.

I kept busy doing other things, avoiding setting up that Instagram account until today when the next online newsletter came out and the September bakealong recipe was announced.  It was time.  Mom's Hobby Farm now is on Instagram.  I have exactly one photo, so far.  It looks like this, but square. 
 This bread is called pane bianco. 
 It is a yeast bread that is rolled flat and topped with dried tomatoes, basil and cheese.
 It is then rolled up, shaped into an 'S' and then cut down the top of it and baked. 
 I liked the bread.  I shared it with my folks who also liked it.  They toasted it on their grill and said that it was good that way too.  I tried to send my picture to King Arthur Flour and it has not shown up yet on their website.  I am not sure if it takes awhile to show up or not but if it isn't there tomorrow my daughter will be home the weekend so perhaps she can help me.

Shameless plug:  One reason my daughter will be home this weekend is our family will be walking in the closest Walk to Defeat ALS for our 8th consecutive year.  It is a terrible disease.  If you have the opportunity to walk or contribute to a walker in your area please consider doing so.  The ice bucket challenge of a couple of years ago was wildly successful and because of that money raised real progress is being made in researching for a cause and a cure. I feel that we are so close.  The Jay Walkers, our team, will put on our matching orange t-shirts and hit the trail on Saturday.  600 walkers are expected and a goal of $80,000.00 has been set.  We are planning to do our part.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

elderberry fun

A couple of years ago, maybe three now, I planted two elderberry bushes in my quest to add perennial fruit to the farm.  I had read about the elderberry, where both the flowers and the berries could be used.  The bushes flowered this year for the first time.  I have not seen or tasted elderberry and knew very little about them and what I did know was not due to experience but only research.  So I left my flowers, thinking that I would not harvest the flowers but let them bear fruit this first year and then next year when I knew what to expect I could use some of the flowers and let some turn to berries. Not all of the berries ripen at the same time.  They are a dark purple/blue and the stem turns to red when ready.  The berries are tiny and must be removed from the stems.  There is some toxicity to the stems and so I was careful to separate the berries from the stem.  It was pretty time consuming but eventually I had washed and destemmed all of the ripe berries from my first harvest.  I had been undecided about what I wanted to try with the berries but eventually my decision was made for me.  I had enough berries for cordial but not enough for jelly.

So cordial it is.  The berries are placed in a quart jar, vodka is added along with some pieces of lemon peel.  The mixture is allowed to stand in a dark place for at least one and up to six months.  When the cordial is ready the vodka is strained and some sugar added.  The vodka/sugar mix is then allowed to stand a few more days until the sugar is dissolved.
clusters of berries


jars of vodka and berries--future cordial
   I am hoping to be set up by next spring to make some elderflower wine but in the meantime I have three separate jars of cordial and I am thinking that I will try opening one after about a month and then wait longer with the others.  It might be nice to have one at Thanksgiving and one at Christmastime.  I intend to make cordials or liqueur from other farm fruits when I am able.  My young pear trees have not started to produce yet.and this year my first potential plum crop of a decent size disappeared overnight.  Darn squirrels. 

I have a collection of cordial glasses started.  Cordial glasses are tiny glasses that hold a small amount of liqueur that is meant to be sipped.  I didn't decide that I needed them it just sort of happened and now I am excited to use them.  I bought my first ones because they were just so cute.  that same reason is pretty much why I have bought any of them.  They are all thrift store finds; many are vintage, a couple more modern.

Check back for links to the cordial recipe and my cordial collection.

I am joining Susan at BNOTP for Met Monday here.


The recipe for the cordial can be found here. 

I talk about the cordial glasses here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden update and a little produce before and after

This has been a challenging year for the summer garden.  But all is not lost.  I am currently seeding for some fall crops and starting to get seeds planted for the winter greenhouse.  My garden went in late as I was waiting for the deer fence before I planted anything.  The fence had its own challenges but it was successful in keeping out the deer.  Not so successful in keeping out what I am assuming is rabbits that took out whole rows of transplants.  I am getting some peppers and some tomatoes and basil.  The vine crops are hanging in there so I am hopeful for fall squashes and pumpkins.

We  had kind of a monsoon week, rain several days in a row with the worst being nearly six inches that fell in one day.  During that wet period my basil went to seed.  I picked a bunch and am hoping that the plants will continue to produce.  My pickings:

dishtowel full of basil
I used some of the basil for a freezer pesto and the rest was frozen in ice cube trays in olive oil.

three jars of pesto for the freezer
I also picked some peppers and made a couple of batches of pepper jelly.  My brother is a fan so much of my jelly will go to him.  My kids like pepper jelly too but made their own last year. 

pepper jelly before
 I usually put it up in 4 ounce jelly jars.  Today's two batches resulted in 24 jars.

pepper jelly after
Next update should be a fruit update.  And maybe some recipes.  Thanks for visiting.

Joining Susan at BNOTP for Met Monday here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

bitten by the thrifting bug

My blog friend Kim who blogs at Exquisitely Unremarkable recently blogged about how her thrift store stinks.   She didn't appear to be talking about the smells but the selection and the prices.  Quite a few of her comments were from people who felt the same way about their thrift stores.  I live in the midwest in a rural area so there are several area towns that are often destinations and while we are there for other purposes we usually do a little thrifting too.  We have three very nice goodwill stores with 75 miles of my house.  One town that does not have a Goodwill has a different thrift store and an estate store, a cross between a thrift store and an antique shop.  There is a new Goodwill that just opened, which will be the fourth one in our area, which we have not had a chance to check out yet.  One town has a Goodwill and a Savers.   The Savers is a little bit more pricey but much of the stock is a little bit nicer too.

I never used to be a thrifter. Oh, I used to rarely go to an auction or antique store but hadn't in years.  My youngest daughter took me along with her once, maybe a year ago.  She and her boyfriend's mom were hitting a garage sale (it was advertised as an estate sale but it was a garage sale) and then they were checking out the two thrift stores in the same town.  My daughter was on the search for vintage tableware and decor items.  Her plan was to get a collection established and then do decor rentals for parties and photography sessions.  I ended up buying a plastic bag of crystal salt cellars for a buck.  The next time I went shopping with my sister we checked out the closest Goodwill looking for treasures for Cait's budding sideline.  We both got bitten by the bug and now we nearly always stop when we are in town and almost always find great stuff.

I think part of our good luck might be location but I think the real reason is my Italian Prosperity Jar.  Kim introduced me to the prosperity jar.  Bourbon and kale in a jar, shake it and wait for prosperity to happen.  There was this little disclaimer that you had to loosely define 'prosperity'.  I believe that for me prosperity means great stuff at Goodwill.  I certainly haven't won the lottery or gotten fabulously wealthy.

My sister and I started out grabbing up brass candlesticks.  Cait's theory was you can never have too many candlesticks. When she was getting started I gave her my collection and then we started purchasing ones as we found them.  We found dish sets, glassware, unusual pieces, vintage pieces.  Cait has run out of room to store a lot as she rents with others so until she has more space my sister's and my focus has shifted instead to things that we love.

I now have enough that I can join the ranks of the bloggers doing tablescapes at least occasionally and as a beginner.  Mom's Hobby Farm is a garden/farm life blog.  When I started including garden recipes I created a new blog to segregate those posts.  And when I wanted to include recipes that didn't include food that I had grown myself I put those recipes in a different spot, another blog.  Links to those blogs, The Farmstand Cookbook and The Bakery at Mom's Hobby Farm are at the top on my sidebar.  The last of my blogs on the sidebar, A Dozen for Dinner is where I blog about parties and holidays and dishes.  I added a new tab there called the thrifty table.  Today I posted there about some of my white dish collection.

In the picture the smallest plates are part of a set of appetizer plates.  The rimmed soup plates were a gift from my daughter Nikole and the silverware is my everyday stainless.  Those are the only parts of this tablescape that were purchased new.  Everything else on the table has been found on our thrifting expeditions.  The link to that post is here.

Ok.  Now I have been stalling long enough.  Time to get back to blogging about the farm.

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, August 12, 2016

crisis averted

 And here is my reward--cappuccino and chocolate almond biscotti for brunch on vintage china. 

  Today's potential crisis started a couple of weeks ago.  I live in the country and so I do  not have city water or sewer.  I have a well and a septic system and both are frequently in need of my attention at best and at worst, the plumber's attention when it is something that is beyond DIY and requires the professionals.  

One evening as I was finishing up outside and putting out dog food for my three big dogs, one of my dogs, Codie, did not come to eat.  She is usually the first one so I started to call her and look for her.  As I went past the well I noticed that the lid to the well room was ajar.  Our well is below ground in a cement 'room' with an opening at the top.  With a feeling of dread I peeked into the well and there she was standing at the bottom of the well.  Thankfully she did not look to have been injured in her fall but I was not sure how I would get a 100 pound dog up out of there.  The only way to access the well is to drop a ladder down the opening  and climb into the room.  It was nearing dusk and once it was dark it would be much more difficult to get her out.  I knew that I couldn't do it alone so I called Robb, my daughter Caitlin's boyfriend, who lives about 15 miles away.  He said that he would be right over and I set about gathering equipment that might come in handy and called my parents, who also live about 15 miles away to see if they could come in case we needed more than the two of us to hoist her out.  

Robb made really good time, it turns out he was kind of in the area, and showed up as I was bringing the last of the potential rescue equipment.  Prior to dropping the ladder into the opening I pulled up the sump pump to get it out of the way and noticed that there was damage to the power cords.  We have a sump pump in place because the room is below grade and when the surrounding ground is wet, water will seep into the room.  The well pump and pressure tank is positioned about three feet up from the floor but when it is really wet, like in the spring when there is a lot of snow melt or during particularly wet summers the level of water can climb and short out the well pump.We pump the water out to prevent damage. Once the ladder was in place Robb climbed down and fastened Holly's (the horse) halter around Codie's upper chest and belly and  attached the lead rope. He boosted her from below and I pulled on the rope from above and we were able to drag her out.  There was several inches of water in the bottom of the well so Robb and Codie were both wet.  We had her out before my parents arrived so I quickly called them to let them know that she was safe and that they could turn around and return home.  Codie was without any apparent injuries but she is an older dog with a heavy coat so I am sure that she had some stiffness and some bruising that wasn't apparent due to her very thick black coat.  

The next day Dad hauled the sump pump to town to work on the power cords and a day or two later he returned it and  I dropped it into the well room to pump the water out and it did not work.  Back to town it went and Dad discovered that the switch was damaged and that we cannot replace just the switch as the design has changed and the switch is no longer available.  In the meantime there is a ton of stuff going on and it is not raining so replacing the sump pump kind of moves farther down on the to do list.  Every few days I would check the level of water in the bottom of the well room, knowing that if it started to climb to the height that could damage the well I had the option to move the sump pump from the septic system and pump it out.  

All of that changed yesterday when it started to rain.  We had  a storm move thru in the early morning that deposited 4/10ths.  A second storm moved thru in the afternoon bringing another 7/10ths and when it started raining again during the evening and night I knew that I would need to do something.  We received five inches of rain during the night.  It could have been worse.  A town 35 miles to the east is reported to have received over eight inches and a town about 45 miles to the south is reported to have received 13 inches.  Some water standing in my yard and ditches is nothing compared to the flooding in those communities.  

At first light the rain had stopped so I immediately checked the water level in the well.  It was higher but not to the point yet that it would damage the well.  I hurried to town and my parents and I headed out to buy a new pump and the extra parts needed.  Once I got home I was able to glue the pvc plumbing parts together and get the pumping going.  So far so good.  I pumped a lot of water out and I am sure that for days it will seep back in but at least for now it is keeping the level down.  Potential crisis averted.  

Back to my brunch, the china is new to me and I write about it on an entertaining blog called A Dozen for Dinner.  Since I started that blog I have been bitten by the thrifting bug and am in the process of amassing new collections and expanding my white collection.  I am adding a new tab at the top called The Thrifty Table and the first post is about these dishes and can be found here..

The cappuccino was made with espresso made in my moka pot and hot milk that was frothed with my immersion blender.  

I have another blog called The Bakery At Mom's Hobby Farm.  The biscotti recipe can be found on that blog here.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

back to baking--and blogging

After a fairly lengthy unplanned blogging hiatus it is time to get back to posting.   I wish I could say that I have been crazy busy doing fun stuff and taking lots of pictures and the posts will be numerous and highly entertaining but I can't.  I have been pretty busy, some good things and some not so great things have been keeping me busy but alas, no pictures.  So my first post in a while will have to be about food.

I have been interested in French macarons for a long time.  They are cute and tasty and I love a challenge.  They are reputed to be hard to make and I have tried several different recipes and different techniques with mixed success.  My younger daughter hosted a bridal shower for my older daughter and I made macarons for the party.  They were made without food coloring to match the light sage and cream theme of the party.  I did not get pictures of those macarons so I made another batch and colored those pink.  I am pleased with how they turned out and when I got three batches in a row to turn out I am thinking that I am getting the hang of it.
For the shower two macarons were placed in a tiny cardstock box and placed at each place setting.  The boxes were sage and cream and the cream colored macarons were nestled on a paper doily.  The boxes were machine cut but then run individually by hand thru an  embosser and hand assembled.  A fun project.
The post with the recipe for the macarons is here.

Macarons are made with meringue and each batch requires three egg whites.  With multiple batches I had quite a few egg yolks and went looking for a recipe with which to use them.  I tried a recipe for a frozen zabaglione, a custard made with sweet wine.  Here it is served topped with fruit.
The post with the zabaglione recipe is here.

Joining Susan at BNOTP here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

For Kaylee

Chase in right.
Chase isn't here yet oops
just about to cross home.
leading off on third.
leading off from third base
chatting with the coach while on third
leading off second?
leading off first
rounding first
heading for first
heading for first
Ready to swing
heading for his first town team at bat
Kaylee is my niece.  Her brother Chase is graduating this year and their party is this weekend.  Kaylee is off at college and she is doing the pictures for their grad party.  I had taken these pictures of his first game with the town team on my phone this week and she needed the pictures.  For some reason I am having trouble syncing my phone to Google + my usual retrieval method and the only way to get the photos off the phone is to upload them on the blog and then Kaylee can get them from there.  Not really hobby farm related but still fun.  

This game was kind of confusing as both teams were wearing white with black sleeves.  The team with the long sleeves and the black numbers is our team and the team with short sleeves and red numbers is the opponent.  My nephew is number 11.  This was the first game of the town team season and Chase's first at bat playing with the grown-ups instead of his high school teammates. He was put in as a courtesy runner a couple of times and had a nice hit for his only at bat.  They won 8-0.  

I am busy making paper goodies to scatter on the table, wrap his cupcakes and decorate his bars.  His mom has a fun theme chosen.  Chase is a hunter and fisherman in addition to his sports so the theme is camo and blaze orange with galvanized metal.  It should be fun and I will try to post some pictures next week.