it's a new year 2020

It's been quiet here on the blog as we headed south before Christmas.  I decided to take a blog break while we were gone and just got home yesterday.  I didn't take a lot of photos this trip, but here are a few that I took along our way. 

Lighthouse2

Logcabin

Small town

Statue

Galvestion11

Our Christmas and New Years was absolutely wonderful and I hope yours was too!


sourdough whole wheat bread

Here's an update on my sourdough starter that I had started.  As things were progressing along or not progressing I made a few adjustments.  My starter on the right is a totally new starter and it's made with Wheat Montana unbleached all purpose flour. The one on the left is one of the original starters that I started with, the flour was 1/4 cup Wheat Montana unbleached ap flour and 1/4 cup of our Wheat Montana berries that I freshly ground each time I fed the starter.  But, it wasn't moving a whole lot, it was starting very slowly.  I figured it out though.  Many people said that they would weigh the flour and water and many people said that there was no need to do that.  I did a bit of checking on the amount of flour I was putting into the starter and was adding a lot less flour to my starter.  I'm guessing I wasn't adding enough flour for the wild yeast in the flour to start moving.  When I started to weigh my flour and adding only my fresh ground wheat and no all purpose flour my starter really took off.  Last night it had risen so high I put it into a bowl incase it overflowed, it didn't but I will be putting it into a larger container from now on.

Sourdoughstarter

Last night I started an easy overnight bread dough which is much like the crusty bread I had made a few years ago. 

I love the bowl that used to be my grandma's bowl that she used to make bread in.  I think of her every time I use it for bread.

Restingbreaddough

Yummy bread, I can't wait to try it.

Baked bread

Whole wheat crusty bread

Slicedbread

So this is my results of making sourdough starter and the results are wonderful.


cooking venison

We have been known to grill in the winter months around here.  With the deer Jim got he grilled some steaks from the backstrap and they were absolutely delicious.

Grilling

Venison steaks

I wasn't always a fan of deer meat when I was young, maybe it was just the way it was cooked.  I always felt it was tough to eat.  I made a tamale pie with the ground venison and it was so tasty, we are getting a few meals out of it which I love.

Tamale pie

I've been finding some really good recipes but the thing is they are all on YouTube, so I have to write them down.  I have this notebook that I've been logging what we've been canning and the amounts.  I thought why not put recipes into this notebook as well. 

Notebook

I love to hand write my recipes in pencil, just incase I need to change things in any of my entries.  I got this tamale pie recipe from Lori over at Whippoorwill Holler.  It really is the best tamale pie.

Tamalepierecipw

We don't have really much snow right now, we got a dusting the other night, but we have definitely had some cold temps, so with cold temps I love to cook.


in the kitchen

It's been really busy here around the homestead.  Jim's been working outside doing odds and ends, getting rid of the burn pile that has grown over the year.  It's always good to burn it before it gets too big and the fire ends up being too huge.  Stacking wood by the sugaring area for when it's sugaring time, we definitely don't want to be low on wood when we're boiling sap.

I stayed in and did some prep work for a recipe I wanted to make this week.  I had to go to town to get a couple of the ingredients that I didn't have on hand, one being chili sauce.  Now, I'm a label reader and if it has high fructose corn syrup in it I won't buy it.  Well the two chili sauces that they carried both had it in them...ugh!  I just couldn't pull the trigger to buy either of them.  So, I pulled out my phone and looked up homemade chili sauce and I found a recipe for a maple chili BBQ sauce, okay I could work with that.  When I got home I made the sauce and made another one that is actually chili sauce, and they both are delicious.  Instead of vinegar I used apple cider vinegar.  I just may end up using them both in the recipe I'm making.

Sauces

A few days ago I started 3 sourdough starts.  I'm actually experimenting with starting them with different flours, all purpose flour, our fresh ground flour and I did two yogurt and buttermilk starts with all purpose and fresh ground, just to see how each of them do.  It looks like a science lab in my kitchen right now :)

Here I am ready to do the first feeding on one of them.  I mixed 1/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup fresh ground whole wheat flour together and added that with 1/2 cup room temperature water to my sourdough starter, covered it up and put it back to do it's work for another 12 hours, which then I will feed it again.

Sourdoughstarter2

See the beautiful action that is going on here?  You can also see where the starter had risen at one point then fell back down.

Sourdoughstarter3

Here are my two yogurt/buttermilk starters, not much action going on with them, they take a bit longer to get going I'm told.

Buttermilkyogurt starter

We woke up to 0° here in Southwest Wisconsin this morning, hubby says it's cold out but no breeze of any kind so he says it's quite beautiful out.  I'll just believe him and stay in my nice cozy log home with the fire burning in the wood stove :)


cruise day-1

Day 1 of the cruise was pretty exciting.  I was totally amazed at how huge the ship we were going on was.  I tried taking photos but was just so excited and I would forget to take a picture, but I think I captured the first day pretty good.  These photos are from when the ship was leaving the Cape Liberty Port, Bayonne NJ.

Day1-1


Day1-3

Day1-10

Day1-12

Day1-9

Day1-4

Day1-5

Day1-6

Day1-7

Day1-8

Day 1 ended with a cup of coffee and a delicious dessert of Crème Brulee.  I was in heaven.


the home fire is burning

When we woke up this morning the temps were hovering around 0°.  I had to go to the big city today for a dental appointment, well Madison isn't quite the big city compared to some cities, but coming from a small town it is big to me.  On the way I noticed that the temp was 17° and I don't believe that it got any higher than that. 

I don't show my home very much but since I'm feeling rather comfortable sitting in my easy chair trying to do a post with the lights low and my string lights on, I thought I'd take a couple photos of my kitchen and dining area of our log home.  I absolutely love our log home it's very simple and yes I am a collector of things.  I don't have a dish washer and when we remodel our kitchen, which we plan to someday I don't believe I'll have one put in.  I have to think on that one.  I really don't mind at all washing dishes by hand, in fact I will gaze out the window to see what is going on outside or I'll do some thinking.  Especially doing the breakfast dishes, I'll think about what I plan to do that day, what needs to get done around the house, or whatever else pops in my mind.

Kitchen

Once the winter temps have really settled into stay, our wood stove stays lit.  But I will admit when warmer months come I am ready for the wood boxes to be put away for the season, I'm definitely ready for warmer weather then. 

I don't believe I posted about the blue hoosier cabinet that Jim made for me that is in the photo below.  I was looking and looking in antique shops for one but could never find exactly what I wanted.  So Jim decided to make me one and it is custom made for exactly what I wanted it for.  He also made it so that we could put our grain mill on it, so we have it permanently set up to grind flour whenever we need it.

Dining area

I haven't really done a whole lot of Christmas decorating yet, or done any Christmas baking.  I am for sure going to make my Grandma M's Finnish prune tarts and my mom's Christmas butter cookies.  I still have time to do both decorating and baking.

Our life here is simple and we like it that way.


quilt cruise quilt

Back in late September early October, I went on a 9 day quilting cruise up the east coast and into Canada. It was a Judy Niemeyer Quiltworx quilt that we had worked on.  I will say that this was my very first cruise.

Kit

This was our view when we were sewing.

Sewing area

This was not my quilt, this was one of the instructors quilt, we just had to take a pose with it.

J&J

The goal was to finish a quarter of the quilt which most of us did not do. When I got home I started right away on it. I knew that if I put it aside that there was a very good chance that I would forget where I left off and most likely forget how to even put it together. I did not pick the colors, each of us all got the same colors so there will be 30 of these quilts floating around USA and Canada when the others finish theirs.

Quiltcruisequilt460

Quilting375

I have so many photos to share from my cruise that I thought starting with the reason I went on this cruise was a good place to start.


canning season

Our canning season is still going strong.  We went to the apple orchard this fall and bought some honey crisp apples.  We usually get the seconds as they are cheaper in price.  I received an email from the orchard we usually go to that they had a BOGO sale going on, which is buy one box, get one box free.  Since it was busy here this fall, but who am I kidding, it's a ALWAYS busy here, but since I was busy I didn't get to the apples right away so we lost a few to rotting.  BUT, I was able to make applesauce out of the remaining good apples.  We really didn't lose that many but it sure seemed like it at the time I was going through them.

Applebowl

This time before I cooked the apples I peeled them.  Oh my goodness, I will always and forever do that when I make applesauce again.  

Potofapples

It was so much easier when I was putting the apples through the sieve, I was not fighting the peelings.

Sauce

Twenty-four pints of delicious applesauce ready to be put down with all the other canning we did this fall.

Applesauce

I not only canned the applesauce, Jim and I canned more venison stew from the deer he got and the potatoes, onions, and carrots we grew in our garden this year.

Earlier in the fall we canned our peppers and potatoes and made tomato sauce with the tomatoes we picked.  When I say we, I do mean both of us.  I am very fortunate to have a husband who enjoys canning as much as I do.

Peppers

Tomatoes
Potatoes

Onions
It really feels good when you do a garden, and come harvest time it's very exciting to preserve the food we've grown.  It's a lot of work but so worth it in the end.


eagle watching

Eagle2

Eagle1

Eagle3cropped500

We can say that almost everyday on our property we'll see an eagle sitting high in a tree, flying overhead, or on the ground eating something. In fact the day after we buried our Sadie girl there was an eagle circling just over her grave about 4 times, seeing that gave me goosebumps. These photos were taken from inside the house, I was afraid if I opened the front door the eagle would fly away.