Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Night

Friday night pizza, is there anything better?? Pizza, popcorn and scary movies. Friday night camp out in the living room. As far as the dogs are concerned, it's nothing short of Shangrila!

I learned to make pizza early in the married years from my mother-in-law. Through the years, tweaked recipes and pure trial and error I have a combination that wins every time. I like having flavor in the dough, eat the center, dip the crust!

My recipe for pizza and movie night!

Pizza Dough
2 pkg dry yeast (just shy of 2 tbl if you use bulk yeast)
2/3 c warm water
2 tea sugar2
c cold water
3 tbl corn oil (or oil of your choice if you like)
2 tbl sugar
1/2 tea BOTH garlic and onion salt
2 tbl dry oregano (more or less to taste) OR italian seasoning, my preference is the Tuscan Style Costco sells.
6 1/2-7 c flour
Toppings of your choice, and lots of cheese! Generally I use 1.5 lbs shredded Mozz cheese per full size cookie sheet pizza.

*note* I use the kitchen aid and get to skip the bowl and spoon. :)
Sprinkle yeasst over warm water and stir in the sugar.
Let stand about 5 minutes or until very bubbly.
Combine the remaining ingredients with about half the flour, beating to a smooth batterbeat in the yeast mixture and then with a sturdy spoon, work remaining flour.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it feels elastic, stretchy.
Not too stiff, not stick and gooey, it will be a bit tacky to the touch.
Place in a large plastic food bag or oiled bowl and let rise until doubled, cover so the dough doesn' t dry out.
When doubled, punch down and shape it to fit two 15" round pizza pans that have been oiled and dusted with cornmeal (I just use cookie sheets)
Add the sauce and toppings
Bake at 450 for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

You can freeze the dough if you like, just freeze before the rising process.

Pizza Sauce
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce,( usually I take a can of diced tomatoes, drain and puree in the blender with the herbs)
1 tbl Italian seasoning
Mix together and let chill in fridge for about 3 hours or more. If you want to short cut the spices, I've used Costco's Tuscan Style Italian Seasoning most of the time and it turns out great.
Following removal from the oven, allow the cheese to set just a bit to make the cutting easier, start the movie night!
Depending on the genre for the night, this may also include a blanket large enough for everyone to duck under...only to peek out again.
Big floor pillows, blanket piles, sleeping bags are a must! Don't worry, the canines will always manage to find a place to squeeze into and drift off into a blissful slumber....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


You know, growing up I would hear the adults talk about how quickly the years went by. As a child, I thought they were nuts, perhaps it was the memory loss they kept talking about as well. In any case, the years dragged on as I made my way through school. Years dragged on as I spent years carrying children, pregnancy is a sure way to make a year go by slowly. Diaper changes, late night feedings, it seems that somehow these things add hours to the day, even when you feel like you could use a few more.

At some point, maybe the retirement of the diaper bag, the years started to speed somewhere around the speed of light. There's nothing worse than something that actually marks this change in velocity. Blogs that you post to...well they do that. I'm looking at my last entry, almost a year ago, and I'm left wondering just HOW did all that time go by.

Summation Update:

Life (aside from breezing by so quickly) has a way of changing. Sometimes when you least expect it, in directions you may not have thought possible or probable. So life has gone here. In these last few months, farming has changed it's face here. Last spring I sold Amy, her steer will soon go off to the butcher to fill our freezer and the many assorted animals have decreased.
This spring brought the passing of Dougall the Duck. At the age of 5, we were expecting it, but it's sad none the less.

The sheep are still wandering around in the pastures, the old gray mare, some loaner horses to mow the pastures. No garden this year, no canning that I can foresee unless it's chili or stew. Some of the steer will find it's way into jars, you just can't beat that flavor it gets from sitting sealed in it's juices for a couple of months!!

There are reasons, but one of them being that I've battled varying decrees of depression for almost 2 decades. Last winter, I finally saw (yes it's possible to not see what's in front of your face) and started getting it managed. In the process, downsizing was not just practical, but necessary. Everything was downsized, I went on a clutter purge that rivaled any other in my life. That is still continuing, but the initial burst was...impressive.

So what is new? Starting back to school, looking for a job (HA! do NOT get me started on that one), regaining health, strength and stamina. Living healthy, being healthy. How is that different from a farm life? Isn't that about as healthy as you can get? Sure. It's also amazingly demanding and the more people it supports, the more important it is that everyone carries a share. When you barely have the energy to get your own chores done, it's hard to be a drivign force for the rest.

Fiber. My life still includes fiber!! I can't imagine livign without it. Mr. Methuselah is still head shed out there, he's even bossing around the steer. Seriously? One little sheep, one large steer...not exactly the outcome one would expect. I would love to pasture some woolies. For the time being, I need to track down a person that can decoat my woolies on a regular basis, so the flock stays where it's at for the moment.
My Etsy shop is up and running! That felt great. The grand state of Washington saw fit to close some loop holes when it came to online selling. Oooof course they did. In any case, it's there, it's open and there are things for sale. Sweet!!!

I know some of you, my readers, enjoyed the farm life insights. To experience, through my experiences. Part of me wishes that could continue, maybe it's held in the future, there's no way to know.
There are different experiences to come! I learned a lot through that experience and it effects how I see so many things in the modern world! It's made me a smarter shopper, a more eager cook, above all, it's brought a deep appreciation for some of the convenience I find in life now. Like....sleeping in. Yeah, you heard me...sleeping in is one of those little sweet things in life.
Football games without the hustle, grumpy cow and so on. Less stress.
I do miss the morning milking. When the world is quiet and nature is just waking up. For all the discomfort, winter morning milkings were probably my favorite! Ice forms very quickly in all those tiny crevices in your hands when it's 10 degrees outside, no parlor heater is going to ease that. The burning stops after a while, then there's just the rhythms of the barn and if you're very lucky, the light sound of snow falling. I think for me, that will always be the epitome of quiet solitude.
(Now of course, for the insertion of reality, this is about the time when the cow decides she's really unhappy with you for some reason, poops and smacks you upside the head with a warm gloopy tail!....end special moment)

Now, I have my spinning wheel. A couple of very lazy cats who will supervise when they see the need. My daughters are learning to spin, much easier now that there are two wheels. (story to come).
So what is life now? Life is life with a twist. ;) That's part of farming too. Sometimes things come down the road out of nowhere, you just gotta roll with it all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Socks and Yarn, Yarn and Socks!

So how's the marathon posting?? It's amazing how much one can accomplish when there are no distractions. Does this mean I'll be better about blogging on a regular basis? I make no promises, that's a sure way to entice life into going utterly upside down.
The garden didn't go well this year, so what I've been putting up has been what I can get in bulk. Apples are on the list this week, but it's given me more time to indulge in other things.
Like socks.
No, I don't spend my afternoons lolling around in large piles of does paint an interesting picture though, doesn't it?
I'm talking about the knitting of socks. Currently there is a box on the other side of the country, it's waiting for some wool that I sent over a couple of weeks ago. There are some very nice people (okay, I'm paying them to do it) that are going to turn said wool into fluffy roving. However, that means I need to keep myself occupied until my box comes back. In other words, I need to find ways to not pester the nice people at the wool mill.
This could take an additional outlay of monies. In fact, it did! For the first time, I indulged in sock yarn. (do you know how hard it is to justify buying yarn when you can spin it?!)

To make this clear. I'm slightly obsessive about knitting socks, when I sit down to do it. They can be fairly addictive in the best of circumstances! Usually fine until I get half way through the leg, then it's just a ways to the heel, of course once the heel is finished may as well turn it. Then it doesn't take that long to work the gusset, that would be a good stopping point...yes? Once the gusset is finished, however, you're just about finished with the foot. After all, the foot is half stockinette and it goes very quickly. Well since you're just about finished with the foot, may as well just put a fork in it and work that toe really quickly. Since sock A is finished, you really should at least work the cuff of sock B, this will help prevent second sock syndrome. Before you know it, it's been a couple of days laundry is starting to morph into a new life form and the family has decided that self-sufficiency really isn't all it's cracked up to be. So, while I'm usually pretty good about working socks into life instead of the other way round....there are those days and those patterns.

Off I went to websites. Online is my only option for this since I have become a yarn snob. I wouldn't say this is a bad thing, I know for a fact I would get in more trouble if I were able to walk around a store.
First stop, Paradise Fibers. They're "local" for me (local has become a relative term) and I like that they support many of the fiber people in the area. A hot cup of coffee, slippers and dinner in the crock pot ('cause I've learned sometimes it just doesn't pay to fight it). One of my reasons for looking at sock yarns, is superwash wool.


Oh, let me enlighten you. Machine washable.
Yes, wool that you can wash, cold water please, in the machine and it's not going to shrink down to super midget size!
*Pausing for the sunbeams and heavenly choir scene*
(No, I've stopped worrying about my mental state, it's easier to just sit back, relax and go with it)

Okay, back to my mouse clicking fun and coffee. I'm downsizing my standard sock needle size again and have decided to play with size 1's. For those of you unfamiliar with knitting needles, these are perhaps a micron larger than shaved toothpicks. That's a possible exaggeration of sorts and it probably doesn't help that my current set is only 4" long. Never fear! I have another set coming in another box (here today maybe?) that is longer, that box also contains Sock Innovations....I'm digressing slightly, just slightly.
That means that I'm opening up options with yarn. Oh the joy! Now, remember I have that box waaaay over in Michigan. Right? So, straight up wool, well I've got that covered. Why not play with something new? Can we Of course we can, in fact, lets! Yes, silk content would be wonderful.
An hour ambles by without much notice. Shhh....I'm doing my best to drown the monitor in drool. It would give Justin a reason to buy a larger monitor, I do my best to be an accommodating spouse you know. I've played at Paradise, KnitPicks and a couple others. The result of my daytime clicking?


What?! It doesn't make you do that? Pfft. Okay, so here's the run down and what's happening so far.
From Paradise Fibers:
Jojoland Melody Superwash in Blues and reds & Red, Green and More. Straight up and down superwash wool.

Here's the Red, Green and More working up in the Pomatomus pattern.
Yarn: Definitely a yarn for size 1s. Varigated over all, but the strands are also varigated. Soft, fine, just a pleasure to knit with IMO.
Pattern: Knit on the recommendation of a friend. Love it! This is not a pattern to work when life is distractive. However, it's texture rich and hypnotic.

Imagination Hand Painted - Lullaby color way, 50% Merino, 25% superfine Alpaca, 25%Nylon.

This is the Imgainiation Hand Painted, working up Froot loop for a KAL (knit a-long) on Homesteading.

Stroll Tonal - Kindling and Foliage - 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon.

Stroll - Merlot Heathers - 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon.

Gloss - fingering weight - Parsley (on clearance) and Jade - 70% Merino, 30% Silk

That is the result of my foray into the online sock yarn world. While there's not much silk in that box, the Superwash is going to help make life a little simpler.
Shameless KnitPicks people just sent out another magazine and I have spied a couple of color ways that I would really, really like to play with. Fortunately, the holidays approach. I don't need to keep it all, it's the playing and watching how it works up that I really enjoy. The Jojoland yarns...well those will stay in my sock collection.

Amongst all the sock play, I went to retrieve the leavings of the mailman one fine fall afternoon and found a package. It was squooshy, with a familiar hand on the front and a llama. (I knew she'd find a way to send me her llama!) Children swarmed, packages always cause this reaction and knowing from whence it came they were eager to see.

The pattern is Jeeves. The yarn Sensations Bamboo & Ewe, Turquoise Multi.

This is a woman who can knit socks! They fit like a dream and have been keeping my toes toasty in this new fall chill we've had. Such a wonderful, out-of-the-blue surprise!!

There's my latest fiber fix. Now if I could just learn to read while I knit! There are those out there, who can do this. I'm not one of them. Yes, I've tried, no it wasn't pretty.

Off to play with Pomatomus!
(I think it might be a good idea to back off the coffee just a smidge as well.)

Are words necessary?

Nope...I think the tongue says it all.

Catching up

The days are turning crisp, apple harvest is coming in and it's time to start bedding the farm down for the winter. Justin had vacation the end of August which helped this process immensely!
The tractor was sweet talked into running. The pastures mowed into submission. The weather was just beautiful! Ah! We also found most of the irrigation heads again! a good thing.

Bossy here, thinks the tractor is going to eat her. Not really, but it's a fun game to play! Personally I think it looks painful the way her udder flops around while she's frolicking, but she sure does have a grand time. This was also the day we discovered that she's NOT bred. Made a mental note that the full moon heat cycles are the ones to aim for.

Fall is in the air

With Fall comes fair time! I love fair, it's the most crazy, hectic, "which way did he go, George?" time of the year. This year, however, it was not meant to be. Wednesday is the night that life begins for fair. It's the night that animals and exhibits arrive. On this night I had 4 children draped, curled or huddled on the various seating areas with glassy eyes, moaning voices and high fevers with no sign of breaking.
The inanimate entries were taken down, the living and their respective humans stayed home.
We did make it down Saturday to walk the grounds, see the results, etc. Lars did score a Sumatra cockerel for next year. Very pretty boy at that.....and he knows it.

So here they are, the entries requiring nothing but viewing.

Leif's Pelican.
Youth, non-kit division. It's a space troop transport ship. He's already working on his design for next year.

My entry, hand spun, hand knit division. Not the best display, but the sweater is super warm and comfy! This is yarn that I worked with earlier this summer from Huck.

These were my mom's entries. Grand Champion, can't beat that! can't. The beads on that necklace are paper beads that I played with earlier this summer as well. I'm glad she worked them. They turned out the most interesting color combination, but it had me baffled as to what to do with it!

Next year's plans are in the works. It's good!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Invisible Children

As I was dashing through my first caffeine hit this morning, the pieces finally fell into place. For years now, the clues have been there all along and yet somehow I failed to see. Perhaps because it's difficult to believe that which we cannot see. The only evidence of existence is subtle (or sometimes as subtle as an atom bomb) change. I can't really say why this dawning is so slow in coming, only that it is come.

I have two other children. The only information that I have of them is their names and the change that they create. From the information and clues that have been left, I believe that they are twins (one of each). Their ages, place of birth, etc are all unknown. So without further ado, I will introduce them to you.

Nautmi and Idano.

My other 5 have been fully aware of them for some years now, I can't say why no one really clarified this point to me.

"Who left the lego mine field in the hallway?"
"Who left the peanut butter mess on the counter?"

"How did that sweater and hanger get 20 ft up that tree?"
"Why is it up there?"
(Now I'm not sure why Idano wanted that sweater and hanger up in the tree like that, or how Nautmi got it there or looking for all the world like it belonged there, but I would really appreciate an explanation....took me forever to undo their work!)

I also realized, I really can't be too hard on them for causing such mischief and mayhem in the house. No birthday cakes, no Christmas presents. I'd raise a little cane too if I were them! They're highly intelligent, of that I'm sure. It takes quite a feat of engineering to get a wad of wet toilet paper that probably weighs a 1/2 lb to defy gravity and stick to the bathroom ceiling like that! You'd need just the right force and momentum. Too much and it splatters, not enough and it will simply fall to the ground again.
The one that neither Justin nor I have been able to figure out was how they managed to get the Winnie The Pooh figure THAT far down into the toilet S. It took all our strength and cunning to get it out again. You really need to admire feats like that.
They play well with the other children, have good appetites, good hygiene practices and really are the quietest of the bunch, albeit a little messy. So all in all, we proceed as normal. It does feel good to have this settled though.

(Don't worry, I've been concerned as well about my sanity for some time now. ;)
Do you think the hubby and children would think I've completely lost if I asked them to tell Nautmi or Idano to come see me so we could discuss their misbehavior?)