Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Many People Does It Take To Open A Bottle Of Wine?

True determination and team work! It took quite a bit of effort to get that cork out!

Irish Soda Bread

Most people only make Irish Soda Bread in the month of March. We love eating this lovely bread year round. Sometimes I make it with organic dried currents when I don't have raisins on hand.

4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup raisins
1 egg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
(if you don't have buttermilk, you can sour the milk by placing 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 1 3/4 cups in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir. Let stand 5 minutes before using.)

Oven preheated 350. Grease a large baking sheet or use your baking stone. Set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins.

Beat egg in a medium bowl using a fork. Add buttermilk. Beat until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until mixture forms a soft dough that clings together and forms a ball.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead dough gently 10 to 12 times. Place dough on the prepared baking sheet. Pat dough into a 7 inch round. Score the top of the dough with tip of a sharp knife, making an X about 4 inches long and 1/4 inch deep.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Immediately remove from the baking sheet, cool completely on a metal rack or I use a cotton dishtowel.

Bread is best eaten the day it is made.

Painting Day...

11, June 18
journal page

Today was a day of I rolled and brushed new life to the worn faded
scraped wood, of the back mountain porch...
thoughts of days spent in the mountains with mom and dad filled my thoughts.

At times it was laughter that filled me with joy as I brushed,
with all the memories of our many projects we did together...
when I would come to stay here for weeks and months at a time.

At times tears of sadness as I miss those times and miss them both so much...
with each stroke a story...
with each stroke a fond memory...
with each stroke a treasured memory ... always.

Arctic Snowy Owls

11, June 14
journal page

As the sun was nearing its days end...
and dark was settling in, Ed came rushing into the house to gather me,
grab the binoculars... come... quickly!
Out of breath we scurried back to the big barn, he had just noticed a small flock of blackbirds chasing a rather large bird...
it looked like a Snowy Owl he exclaimed!
As we slipped underneath the outside cross boards of the barn door,
we stood still barely breathing as our eyes scanned the darkness...
searching the beams high up.
There he was...standing tall and very still...every bit of 16 inches in height!
As we stood in awe for some time, the Snowy Owl took flight right above our heads right through the side window of the barn.
A few months later, there was quite a write up in our local paper about the Arctic Snowy Owl traveling south, far away from their tundra homes in search of prey. That many are showing up in increasing numbers in Ohio, mostly along the lake. They had mentioned there were 15 reported sitings. I guess we should have reported our siting. There is always next time. What a privilege to have stood just below this beautiful breathtaking species.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the Allegheny mountains

11, June 10
journal page

What do porcupines and pileated woodpeckers have in common?
Well, they both are seldom seen in the Allegheny....

As we drove to fetch water at the spring in Endeavor this eve, we came upon a strange looking creature near the middle of the road. From far away, we knew it wasn't an opossum, nor a raccoon. What was this mystical creature waddling in the center of the road? Nearing long quills were evident ... very long quills ... very long raised quills! Looked like a porcupine on steroids...

Our thoughts crossed as we came to a stop, could this creature of the night shoot those quills into our tires.. surely wouldn't want to find out.

Early on, peering out the sliding back porch windows, whilst looking out towards the swift rivers current, we saw the pileated woodpecker, quite the site to behold! It was sizing up yet another wild cherry tree. Earlier we found a damaged cherry tree along the river bank at the edge of the property. Quite a bit of damage, its pecking left holes as big as our hands and as deep.
They are pretty birds...sadly pretty destructive as well...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

two thousand eleven where did you go

as minutes tick into hours
... hours pass into days
as days slip off into weeks
... and weeks flow into months

2011 passed by quickly...
or so it seemed...

In December 2010 I worked hard to shed my walker for a cane. Coming into 2011, though having so many limitations, it definitely slowed me down. I had to learn new ways for the old. I started my new year out full of determination and had many goals set for myself. With insurance changes I was on my own to better my health, to work to get stronger. I found quickly that I was not just on this new journey to build physical strength within, but to remain positive even when I didn't think I could achieve the next step. I must admit, the thought of giving up never occured to me, but there were many times I wanted to give to the numbness, in to the pain, in to the hurdles that were before me..for there were many times I felt hopeless and helpless.

Ed was my hero through and through. By May I was excited that I could start cooking and do laundry again. Crazy huh? My biggest accomplishment in May, was that I was learning to climb stairs again.

It was always a boost when the spring gardening catalogs arrived in the mailbox. It gave me hope and filled me with ambitions to plan my garden. I had quite an assorted mixture of family heirloom seeds started under lights near the south window.