Tag: Autumn (page 2 of 2)

Thanksgiving Eve

Today is, as Russell desires me to call it “Thanksgiving Eve” since there is a “Christmas Eve” :laugh:

I’m currently making Victoria’s Birthday Cake for tomorrow, a New York Cheesecake. It’s in the oven with less than 40 minutes to go.

I’m seriously thinking about making the Turkey and Stuffing today, but I’m not sure I can. We have some more running to do for Birthday Girl, unfortunately.

In any case, if I can’t do that today, I’ll do it early tomorrow. I’ll be chopping up the celery and onions and nuts and such for the stuffing ahead of time, and the bread too. It’s my signature stuffing: that and apples and raisins and butter, eggs, stock/water. Into the bird it will go. It’s devine!

I have pumpkin pies to make too, and then the other things will be: mashed potatoes, gravy, cauliflower with cheddar cheese sauce, green been casserole, chill the cranberry sauce (I just used the jellied canned variety, I like the smoothness of it: Ocean Spray; a nice accompaniment to the other Turkey Delights) and hmmm. I have to get out my Palm and check out the menu again. Ah, yes, the rolls I’m working on.

I made a French Bread dough yesterday, and saved part of it in the fridge. I’m taking it out on occasion and punching it down, and rolling it out and folding butter into it. By tomorrow hopefully I can affect some sort of croissant-ish rolls.

For the dough it started out as a sponge of “unbleached flour: 4 cups; water to make it a sponge; and 1 Tablespoon of Active Dry Yeast”. Mix that up and cover, allow to sponge for several hours to overnight, or longer. Stir down as desired throughout that time. (Make sure you are using a large bowl!)

When ready to make the dough, just stir 1 Tablespoon of salt, and then also more flour until the dough is formed, using a machine of some type, or by hand, and then knead it in the machine or by hand until elastic, adding in more flour as needed.

Form a round and put it in an olive-oil-oiled bowl to rise, covered

OR

Take the dough and form it into the shapes you want, and let double then bake.

If you let it proof in the bowl you can punch it down as long as you like until ready to make the shapes and baking.

Put it in the fridge and take it out again to slow mature it. The more it sits around rising and being punched down the more French it is and good tasting cultured artisan-y.

Bake it at 400 or 450 (F.) until golden brown. Put a pan of hot water in the oven with it, so that the oven is moist, the way to get crusty artisan breads that is easiest. To do it, put the hot water in a pan, put in oven that is turned on pre-heating. When over hot, put bread in quickly and let it bake for 25 minutes, then start watching it for doneness, as any bread you might. It’ll get a nice crusty thick crust the longer it’s left in. I love it very brown.

So that’s what I’m doing now, messing around with dough for crusty melty rolls with dinner tomorrow, and baking the cheesecake, and wringing through thoughts of what else to cook today or not. πŸ™‚

We have tons of rain, lots the last few days and lots more today. It’s been dreary, but the holiday is keeping me perked up. Usually this kind of weather really punches me down (no sun at all for days and days, just dark and dismal)

Today we had Flash Flood Watch and Tornado Watch, yesterday just Flash Flood Watch. With the stuff today we have Severe Weather of heavy rain expected and gusts up to 60 miles per hour possible, and penny size hail possible too.

We had some big gusts, but not that big. We had no hail. We had tons of rain. We had a river running down the side yard, under the gate to the backyard and forming a small lake that had an outlet beyond it’s vast expanse … water, water, everywhere, no where to go but UP. We are saturated. It’s a good thing though. πŸ™„

Holiday and Traditions

This week is a holiday week in our home, as it is for so many in the US. But for us, it’s a double-holiday on the same day, Victoria turns Six on the 25th. This is part and parcel of life for us since her birth, with her being born the evening before Thanksgiving Day, her birthday is right smack on Thanksgiving every few years, and right before or right after depending on the placement of the last Thursday of November. Not only that then, exactly one month to the day later, it’s Christmas Day. So Victoria’s birthday is a count-down-beginning time of sorts in our household.

I’ve felt bad for birthday people born around Christmas … it’s tough. I know of people born much closer of course, and Victoria, on “schedule” would have been born the first week of December. Oh, the feel bad and tough part is only how the whole year is empty for them, and then Christmas and birthday crammed upon one little segment of the year.

Why do I feel like that? Two things remind me of it:

1. My birthday is in July and it was perfect placement, IMO all my young life. I never had to go to school on my birthday, and it was practially mid-point of the year between Christmases.

2. I know that when we have week after week of nothing fun to do outside of the house, suddenly invites and times to do something somewhere else all pop up for the same weekend or the same day, and some thing has to be turned down… if only these things would iron themselves out to not clog up one time space, but spread out a few weeks to allow liberal time to be spent at home and out doing in leisure, instead of feeling cramped and missing out on things, and whirlwinding it every so often, and total downtime the rest of the month or two until the next whirlwind time.

These two items have given me empathy for the last part of the year birthed ones. Silly, yes. Silly? No not really though. For I see how tough it is in our home to distinguish between birthday and Christmas gifts for our daughter, like she gets two stages of Christmas, a month apart. I don’t mean for it to be that way, but it’s the way it ends of feeling, for to get her something nice for her birthday and then something nice for her for Christmas is hard on the other children, I see how they see it. They can’t parse it out as adults and see that in other parts of the year THEY get that special birthday stuff. I do see it though that it’s a blank year with a birthday and Christmas just a month apart.

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Cooler weather is here

Autumn is here. Summer is over. The day, yesterday, was in the 60’s but the house chilly. It was sunny, but the house chilly. It’s chilly now, early morning in the house (I’ve been up since 2am).

The forescast for the next 15 days is for the highs at the most in the low 60’s and that makes for a chilly house, since most temps will be in the 50’s to the 30’s. Not COLD just chilly, the kind that gets to you after awhile if you aren’t dressed warm enough, which means socks, shoes, etc. a must from here on out until Spring, for the most part.

For us girls, me and Victoria, since we wear dresses all the time it also means warmer stuff for under dresses. Tights, leg warmers, whatever.

For me it means BOOTS! Yeah, my favorite kind of shoe is more comfy in the Chilly Times.

It also means wood and fireplace activity. I’m ready for starting some early morning small fires, late evening small fires. Our wood pile, on the other hand, is NOT ready. πŸ™„

Part of our wood pile is ontop of the hennie penny pens, holding down the metal roof panels, since they aren’t permanently afixed. Yeah, our temporary quarters for the hens still exist in full use. One of these days that will change, dreams and plans exist, it’s just the implementation of getting it done at all.

I’m hoping to get a Winter pen ready for near the back of the house, and get a movable type of run to attach to it, let them out on nice days, even move them out for a bit if possible, and then move them back to the more winterperm pen.

All this is dreaming, of course. I’m not sure who will be with us, Leghorns or not. And it all depends on whether or not we can convert the pen that was being built earlier this year but didn’t work out — all in all, hens are fine in GA in the pens they have, they are grown and fair well in cold. Heat does them in faster.

Forecasting for National weather trends this Winter have us not expecting a very mild winter, but a more usual cold and wet, as opposed to drier and milder. It’ll be interesting. This is our second Autumn/Winter with no central heat. I don’t mind that at all. I detest artificial central heat (I can’t breathe well, and get so stuffy headed) Wood heat feels best. Our central heat was a heat pump, and not as bad as other types of central heat, but our system wasn’t set up for our house very well, and also, a heat pump isn’t efficient once temp drop around freezing. Electric heat is Emergency Heat on the heat pump we have, but it didn’t work past the first year, and we never had it looked at since we really didn’t want to use it anyhow. Last year the air system was making me ill, so turning it off made all the difference and we have to have it overhauled and just haven’t had the money, and need extra anyhow to get the whole house HVAC set up, as it’s not entirely set up, and what we did have running wasn’t sufficient to the house in the first place. What a messy sounding thing it is. Basically it’s not as bad as it sounds, we just don’t have a/c or central heat. It is possible to live in North GA without them. πŸ™‚

The idea is to have enough wood to keep the fireplace going, and also to get a wood stove in the downstairs family room. Don’t know if we can do that this year, but if not, we’ll move the TV up by the fireplace πŸ˜‰ probably.

Really very cold days, me and the children will cuddle in bed and read and watch movies.

Or go to Barnes and Noble. πŸ™‚

Sunrise

This morning: Looking East

Bethlehem Sunrise November 6, 2004 06:21:06
Bethlehem Sunrise November 6, 2004 06:21:06 To the right

Bethlehem Sunrise November 6, 2004 06:23:20
Bethlehem Sunrise November 6, 2004 06:23:20 To the left

Frost Warning – First One of Season

Tonight we have a Frost Warning. The first one for the season. I have that Lone Tomato plant to cover, as it has many tomatoes on it still maturing. It’s the best plant I’ve ever grown, though I haven’t really grown this one, if one knows about it as I wrote about it earlier. [do a search for ‘lone tomato’]

At any rate, it’s put out lots of growth and flowering and fertilization … I’ve pinched off many flowers and just fertilized buds as there just won’t be time for them to grow, and I want the plant to put it’s energy into maturing the many other fruit it previously started.

I’ve been doing that pinching back for a few weeks now. It’s STILL wanting to send up flowers. πŸ™‚

I have three very red tomatoes this week, the first fruit to be picked. I haven’t opened them up yet, will this weekend. They are a nice size, not overbig, so not sure what “variety” of tomato they are … the mysterious self-grown lone tomato plant that it is.

A few weeks ago we did have a Hornworm invasion. I spotted three, and before they were done being picked off (thanks to my hubby) there were many more. All small, but about to chow down. I then sprayed the plant with BT and there haven’t been any other pests. The worst damage done was one smaller tomato had an inch-and-a-half top eating out scar, it didn’t go deep, so I let it keep growing. It’s near starting to ripen stage now.

We had just so much overcast weather the past few weeks I’m thankful now for the Sunnier days we’ve had, that helps the tomatoes grow and ripen. We could have used it though, in October.

I hope that I can protect the plant tonight and keep it going. This one cold night should be alone, and not continue a pattern, as far as I know.

November 15 is the “average first freeze” date. This would be an early first frost for us. Weather is expected to be down to 34 degrees F. but clear and still air, making freezing temps possible.

Happy October!

Time is flying. Amazingly it is faster this year than ever before. Didn’t Winter just end, the sun just start being out more each day, when now it’s out less each day, and the temperatures aren’t AS tough, it’s backwards Spring. But it was just Spring.

My garden is a mass of dead plants and weeds, with one lone Cauliflower ever strangling taller and taller, looking ugly, not producing a thing. Actually, my garden was rather like that since Summer began. Spring it was working, and then, blahdom set into it. If I had the time to be in it noon and night it still would have gone sour. It’s just that ugly spot of land, that ugly Summer we had too. But it was a blink of an eye. A dream I had one night.

So now it is October. Good beer month.

I have one tomato plant that popped up not to long ago in the middle of the yard. Right now there are 10 tomatoes on it in various stages of development, as well as more blooms ever opening to be fertilized or not. It has been a gift. It would be somewhat connected with the hens, in that I gave them some tomatoes a few times this past summer, and they were penned in that area then too. One way or another, one nice plant sprouted up. I saw the leaves popping out from amongst the too long weedy yard, so I smooshed the weeds down to investigate it. I knew it was a tomato plant just from the couple of leaves visible. Oh what a nice plant it was! So I ran and found a tomato cage and propped it up nice and tidy. Pulled some weeds out that were near it and just have been nice to it ever since, pulling off extra leaves, moving a branch in the cage for better support.

We have another month and a half before first normal frost. I think I just might get tomatoes from this plant. That’ll be nice, since my real plants all were horrible this year. I have do a raised bed for them next year, no doubts about that. I think that the method I found this year, one plant in the middle of the yard, is a clue as to what’d be good to do.

I think it best for me to plant tomato plants later in the year, not in Spring. And plant them in various non-garden spots throughout the yard. Take a plug of grass and earth out, and put in the tomato plant. Grass will overtake it by Spring, and the spot will be ready to be used for a tomato again another year or so, but that the very next year it’ll just be grass and the tomatoes of that year will be in other little spots here and there.

Well, that’s a maybe solution to having nicer tomatoes. In the South there really are two planting seasons, and I’d really like to take advantage of them by growing some things earlier, and other things later. That’d help me not be so overwhelmed as to failure garden-wise. πŸ™‚

So I’m happy to see October arrive, and hope to find some fresh North Georgia Apples soon, and hope to have some lovely tomatoes from the middle of my backyard soon! I’ll see about a tent to protect it soon enough, in case of early frost. That’s not so hard, to figure out a tent for one lonely plant πŸ˜‰

A brief note about the hens: They have been molting for too long, and we’ve had no eggs from them since about September 10th, and most of them quit laying before that. It’s quite frustrating, and I hope to get a better set-up for them with lighting, so that maybe they’ll start to lay and keep laying all Winter. Any way, the Leghorns are the problem, I figured they’d lay all summer and fall and then do them in. They are in there eating and not laying though for a couple of months, so …. I want some eggs out of them! If we did them in, we’d only have 8 hens. 8 hens that are never every day layers. I need some new stock, and want to get the pens figured out and really just DO IT! This month would be the month to get babies. Hmmm.

So Happy October to y’all!

Friend or Foe, what it comes to

Cats and puppies: A listing of friend or foe

Cats – 6

Samantha — 11 year old petite black cat. Not interested in the puppies at the least.

Princess — 11 year old big fat tuxedo [black and white] cat. Will watch the puppies from a distance, as long as the pups are in their kitchen pen, or crate.

Strider — 2 1/2 year old gray/silver subtle striped cat. Will walk around the pen when the puppies are in it, rubbing the sides, walk around the top of the pen, get inside the pen and look at the pups. The pups and he smell each other and tolerate each other in there. Victoria sometimes likes to get in there and hold Strider and he stays and purrs up a storm, and Gretchen mostly will interact with Strider. They had a near startup play session today, but I nixed it, so that no one would get hurt.

Dixie — 2 1/2 year old darkgray/gray subtle striped cat (Strider’s litter-mate). She wants nothing to do with the puppies.

Scarlet — 1 year old tortiseshell/calico mix cat. She rubs seductively all around the pen when the puppies are in it, sniffs them through the holes in the pen, sometimes she jumps in and drinks from their water bowl, or just sits there washing herself, and looking at the pups. The pups just look at her.

Foster — under 1 year old brown black tabby cat. He’s petrified of the pups. Want to see a cat tail bloom? Just drop Foster into the pen with pups. Voila! Out Foster will fly out of the pen with tail fully extending in wild bloom.
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Backyard Hawk

I was sitting here looking at something on the computer, and felt a need to look out the window to the backyard.

What did I see, I did a double-take. Red-wing Hawk sitting on the Box Tower, one end of the “Jungle” play set we have. I had a few frightening minutes looking for my camera, it wasn’t where I remembered putting it last. It was still there, the object it was on had just been moved [rolling cart island].

I didn’t dare open the door, so what photos I got may not be so good. Also, I had my short lense on the camera. Figures. I did get my long lense on, but he flew away, said Russell. I looked up and he was gone. There was ruckus of BlueJays next door, aha, the hawk must be there somewhere.

I finally did spot him in a large tree over there, and trying to avoid the BlueJays. He took off and flew over the few yards and houses then to the trees bordering the subdivision and a junk yard.

Gorgeous thing, we’d never had one land, that we know of, in our back yard. I’m guess he’s interested in our chickens. They, as far as we know, are securely tucked in their pens. It wouldn’t be wise for any of them to venture out of any hole that appears at any time … as has been known to happen on high wind days.

Well, my adrenalin was pumping in Highest-Mode throughout all that. It was very exciting. I love looking for hawks when we drive through the countryside. They perch on trees and wires, and some days are easy to find many. Usually they are flying way up in the open air.

Ok so photos, if they are any good, they’ll be on my photo log later, much later probably. I have 10 pictures left on this role. They could go really fast. But there are 6 rolls waiting to be taken somewhere for development. Oh the expense of such a fine hobby.

Autumn-time

It’s officially the first weekend of Autumn. In the South that doesn’t usually mean too much. The temperature’s have moderated some already, in the beginning of this month, getting warmer again as well, but staying in a lower realm for the night and early morning, and usually not getting higher than the mid-80’s during the day, if not much lower.

Here the trees generally start changing color and dropping in November. We’ve seen plenty brown and drop already, and some color changing first. Why? The trees “feel drought stricken”. We are out of the drought, but less rain this summer than we’ve had the prevoius two seasons seems to have tricked them, my own analysis, into thinking it’s droughty again. Six years of drought has a heavy toll.

Well, some trees are holding their leaves fine, and some partially, so I’m hoping we’ll see some color in another month or so.

Autumn Tree Pictures

Pictures of these got deleted by accident when transferring things to different system of blogging. They will be reinstated in the near future — Note added when discovered “March 26 2005” —

October-Glory_thumb.jpg

October Glory Maple – 2002: Photo 1
700Wx467H at 72 px

October-Glory_2_thumb.jpg

October Glory Maple – 2002: Photo 2
467Wx700H at 72 px

Jap-Maple_thumb.jpg

Japanese Bloodgood Maple Autumn 2002 [with October Glory Maple behind on left]
700Wx467H at 72 px

These are all from our front yard. The Japanese Bloodgood is right in front of our living room window, and the October Glory is further out in the yard to the right, in the bern we built. The bush on the right of the burn is the Pussy Willow. The other plants are Hosta, Dusty Miller, Iris, Pansy, and Snapdragon, from left to right.

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