For Christmas our family makes gift basket for each other and friends. Debbie fills hers with her famous soups, huge oatmeal cookies, gourmet coffees, and breads. Paul and Anna smoke turkey breasts and make beef jerky, Tricia makes Divinity candy, Truffles and all kinds of good things One year I decided to make sausage to put in my Christmas baskets. I was planning on homemade French bread, and peach preserves, I surged some pretty Christmas fabric to line the baskets. I had a sausage stuffer to go with my Kitchen Aid, I bought the casings and a pork butt. After grinding the meat, and there was a lot of it, I added the seasoning and began to knead it with my hands, turning and twisting it over and over until it was well mixed, then I started extruding it into the casings, it was fun to do, but the sausage is not pretty at this stage. The job took a couple of hours and I had a pile of nice fat links of sausage ready to cook. Then I noticed all the polish was gone from my fingernails. No, that wasn’t red pepper flakes in the sausage. I never considered giving it away in the Christmas baskets, (well maybe for just a few seconds). Everyone got something else instead. Dan and I ate all of that sausage ourselves (for a long time). We really burned out on it. Just a while back I decided to try again and it turned pretty good. I used store bought seasoning, no Revlon this time~
I was visiting with a friend on my blog about buying ready made draperies and using the fabric for all kinds of projects, since they are wide there is lot of material to work with. Another great buy is sheets, the best bargain is a twin flat sheet, and sometimes a larger size when necessary. They are made of a good quality fabric, they last a long time and aren’t bad about fading. I have bought those with designs, lined them with another white sheet and made draperies. The picture today is a matching bedroom set I made for my granddaughter Stacy when she was 11 years old. I started with several sheets from Wal-Mart. For the comforter I used a full size sheet, quilted and ruffled it, then for all the pillows and shams I used twin size sheets. The draw draperies were pleated full to cover an extra large window. She liked her room and always kept it neat as a pin. The bed had a trundle underneath to pull out and use for company (which was sometimes me). That was back when we had Schatzie and Spook~ big slumber party times. This whole project cost less than $100 and was more than ten times that much fun.
When the kids were staying on the river for a while, I went up to spend the day, it was not too long after I made the new draperies for the trailer. I was sitting on the sofa and it seemed pretty bright in there. Then I noticed half the draperies were gone from the wrap around window in front. I wondered if they had fallen down during the night or something. No, they were at Holiday Cleaners. ZZ had been playing with her box of makeup and when she was putting mascara on, she flipped her hair back and hit the drapery with the mascara wand. It left a little streak of ‘midnight black’. No problem, she was always one to take care of things so she got Anna’s Vaseline and rubbed it over the streak and pretty soon it had turned into a big black circle. The more she worked the bigger it got. She had seen Anna take her eye makeup off with Vaseline so thought that is what she needed to do to get it off the draperies. (I can feel the panic, I have known panic!) But they came back from the cleaners looking like new. She was even able to rehang them herself. That was the hard job. Another lesson learned, no real harm done and I have to laugh when I think about it. I love that girl!
This is the Chinese Pistache tree in my back yard, it is beautiful. I bought it just before Duckwalds closed their store, their trees cost $13 in the 5 gallon size buckets, and every tree I bought lived and has done well. This one is my favorite. The Chinese Pistache is originally from China and is kin to the cashew family. They grow in poor soil and harsh conditions, they are hardy trees. They like full sun, after they are established they don’t need a lot of watering. A long time ago I had three mimosa trees in this spot, they had lacy leaves and beautiful flowers, I enjoyed them for many years. They shaded the screened porch. I have always loved trees, even those that don’t bloom or turn bright red in the fall. A tree is a treasure, no matter where you live, or for how long, plant a tree and enjoy watching it grow, then leave it for the next ones~
Wild turkeys are only one of two domestic birds native to America, the other is a duck. My friend Frankie Lively took these pictures in a pasture near her home in the country. It is not easy to get a picture, when they see you, they walk on off. The Toms either hang out by themselves or stay with other Toms~or gobblers~ and the hens stay together in groups until mating season. The hens lay from 7 to 14 eggs and are good mothers. They feed their babies for about three days then the babies find food for themselves, but stay with the group. At times there are as many as 45 or 50 that roam around together. Another ranching friend came home last week and there were 45 turkeys under her pecan tree in the yard. Wild turkeys forage on the ground and eat nuts, acorns, seeds and berries. Unlike the domestic turkeys, they are good flyers, they will sail into a big oak tree just before dark and roost there. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the United State’s national bird, he saw all the good things about them. I would vote yes with him~
The draperies in our used Airstream trailer were getting worn and I wanted to buy new ones, these were original so they were nearly 40 years old. I looked on the internet and found a place that made custom replacements, they were expensive~many hundreds of dollars. The trailer has seven big windows and a large wrap around window in front. I thought it over for a few weeks and decided to make them myself. It is hard to find drapery material so I went to Penney’s and bought readymade draperies (they were 80 inches long so I could cut them in half and have plenty of fabric for the shorter trailer windows. They were the perfect color and texture, I figured out how many I would need and came home and started ripping and cutting. Since they had lining I didn’t need to buy anything else. It was a big job, you need to make pleats at the top and bottom of each drapery or 344 pleats. Then there are little plastic hangers that are sewn to each pleat and connected to a glide that goes on the top and bottom of the window. I was really happy when I finished, I enjoyed making them and they only cost $128.00. There is still another story about the draperies but I will save it for a little later~
This is something you might like~ a lot! It is homemade pita bread (or pocket bread) that is stuffed with meat, seasoned with curry and mixed with crunchy vegetables, raisins, and chopped apples. The bread is tough and chewy, it holds the stuffing down to the last bite and doesn’t get soft and weepy. It is something you can eat on the run or serve to your company around the dinning table. It is delicious. Curry is one of my favorite seasonings, it has a woody taste and is different from any other spice. We always made these sandwiches down on the river in the summer time. Everyone liked them and they were good warm or cold. They were just good.
Make the bread first, and while it is rising, you can start on the stuffing, it only takes a short time from start to finish. The dough needs to rest for a little while so it will relax and you will be able to roll the circles without resistance, otherwise you will roll and it will fight with you.
I have always been amazed that flour, liquid and a rising agent can be combined to make every kind of bread you can imagine and all of them are different. Here goes~
CURRY BEEF PITA SANDWICHES
1 pkg. yeast
½ warm water
1 tsp sugar
~ let this sit for 5 minutes
1 c. warm water
3 c flour
1 ¼ tsp salt
Now beat and mix all together and let
rise for 2 hours. Divide into 6 balls
and roll into 7 in. circles on floured board.
Spray 2 cookie sheets with Pam,
lay three circles on each pan and
Let rise for 10 minutes while you preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake for about 6 minutes, until they start to turn golden,watch that they don’t burn. Cool on wire racks and then cut in halves, I use kitchen scissors.
1 lb. very lean ground meat
1 onion, chopped
Add & cook 4 or 5 minutes:
1 chopped apple
1/3 c white raisins
½ c celery chopped med. fine
2 carrots chopped med. fine
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder and 2 T white wine
Stuff pockets with filling and add a dollop
of sour cream dressing.
1 C WHITE CORN SYRUP
1 C BROWN SUGAR
1/3 tsp SALT
1/3 C MELTED BUTTER
1 tsp VANILLA
2 CUPS PECANS (toast in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring twice)
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla.
Add slightly beaten eggs. Pour into 9 in. unbaked pie
shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 for
1 hour. Watch carefully the last 20 minutes. You can lay a piece of foil over the top during the last 15 minutes so the crust doesn’t brown. It should be golden.
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
½ c shortning
Mix flour and salt, cut in shortning with pastry blender
Slowly add a few teaspoons of cool water while stirring to make a ball of dough that is firm and not sticky. Don’t over work it, the less you fool with it, the more tender it will be.
Roll it out thin on floured wax paper,( put a few drops of water under the paper so it won’t slip and slide). Now carefully fold it around the rolling pin and place it in the pie pan. Cut excess crust off around edge, leaving 1/2 in. overhang, which you can tuck under and make a pretty fluted edge.
My first miniature shoe was the ‘I Do’ shoe, a little old timey wedding slipper. Nancy gave it to me for my birthday one year. I couldn’t put it down, it was absolutely adorable.
Then on another birthday here came the Raine Runner, this was during my jogging years and is a perfect replica of a running shoe. These shoes were all made by a company called Just the Right Shoe, they came in their own fancy box with only the shoe for the right foot.
Later a friend in Canada sent me the pretty little blue mule slipper. It was encrusted in pearls and looked like blue satin leather. I just like things that are little, all the shoes remind of those special days and happy times.
I ran across a picture this week of me, Tricia and Nancy and our Uncle Calvin and Aunt Maxine. We loved them, they were fun and taught us all kinds of things. After they were older, Calvin was in the navy, (he looked wonderful in his sailor suit) and Maxine was a beautiful girl, she worked as secretary for lawyer, Robert Amacker. When Calvin was home on leave, they liked to jitter bug and they tried to teach us the steps. “kick~ kick~toe~heel~toe~stomp~slide” Now it stuck with me and that is exactly how I did it even when I was grown. (not a pretty sight) I did the steps but didn’t learn the dance. They knew all the dances from the early 1940s.
Maxine is around 90 years old now, so this was a long time ago. She is still very pretty and resembles Queen Elizabeth. Calvin lives in California with his family and is retired from Jet Propulsion Labs. He has a beautiful shock of white hair and plays tennis weekly. We were always proud of our aunts and uncles, these two were the most fun~
My boys like to carve and whittle. Here are a few of the things they have made. The wooden chain is carved from a single straight board, the egg started as a square block of wood, then there is a box with open center and a carved ball inside. Each of these started with a solid piece of wood.
My favorite is this spade, made from walnut with a maple handle. The shovel part is carved thin and is as smooth as silk. It is a contrast between a tool used for hard digging and an exquisite piece of art.