Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's Here!

Storm clouds have moved in the wind's roaring bits of snow are just beginning. 

Thought you might enjoy some of the fall photos we took this past weekend, while you're thinking about that. We have an amazing range of shading and textures here in Colorado. (These are mostly from the Buena Vista/Crystal Creek area, by the way...)

Enjoy...and stay warm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snow's Coming

It's been getting colder all week.

Monday, we had rain all day. Today, it was warmer around the edges...but there's a faint coolness that promises a change. A big one.

The clothes on the line are finally dry. (The sleeping bags from camping, however, are not.) I need to clear everything out and put it away before tomorrow night, when...

First on the docket: stack fresh firewood by the back door.

Take the hoses off front and back faucets...after the chickens' water is filled, and the flowering kale gets one last hopeful spritz. (We've been playing Russian roulette with the faucets for weeks.)

Flannel sheets on the bed.

Pull out the turtlenecks and heavy sweaters. Thick socks, too. (The Brick has been teasing me for weeks about not wearing socks. Soon, he'll get his wish.)

Hot coffee and something warm from the oven. Looks like it might be:

Laura Ingalls Wilder's recipe for gingerbread...she was famous for this. I made some Monday night, while it was raining. Good! (From Full Bellies, Happy Kids)

Granted, I don't have to do everything this blogger does.

The mountains are already white. Our turn is next. (Denver may just get rain, but we're a thousand feet a projected 32 degrees for a low, that means white stuff for us in Castle Rock.)

     I don't mind, though -- snuggling with the Brick is a pleasure worth any number of chilly moments.

Monday, September 29, 2014

An Encouragement

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Rain

A wonderful weekend in the mountains, being heartstruck by the fall colors -- wave after wave of bright yellow (and occasionally bright orange) leaves assault the eyes and senses. We may not have Michigan's mesmerizing reds...but boy, do we make up for it in the other autumn colors. Against the mountains and pine forest, they're amazing.
     Today, it's been bleary and rainy all day. Drippy gray skies, lots of rumbling and grumbling. (Charley and Abby are very nervous about all this, and have spent the day huddled near my feet -- they hate all the thunder and fuss.) 
     Don't feel sorry for us, though -- we get so little rain here that an all-day event is a wonderful thing. Sure, my wash is on the line...but it can handle an extra rinse. Meanwhiel:

23 things only left-handers worry about. This list must have been written by a right-hander. They don't realize how often left-handers have learned to adapt. How do I know this? Yes, I'm left-handed. You can also find out who else is...

Famous left-handers, that is.

Make your own bacon bits. (From Creative Savings Blog)

"Sometimes I'm a hermit." (From Cash Cow Couple)

Ten commandments of small-space living...including how to make this insanely cool side table. (From Apartment Therapy)

Barbara Brackman's report on the recent American Quilt Study Group conference. Next year, it's Sept. 9-13 in Indianapolis. Boy, I'm tempted...

"I lived off the land..." but it's not what you think. (From the New York Times) 

Thirteen freebies you can take advantage of.  (From AARP)

Should you give gifts of things you got at the thrift shop? (From Fine Diving Chicago)

A white orca -- only one other sighting has ever been noted.

Have a great week. And go play in the rain!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Treasure Hunting

It's been a restless week. I have plenty of work to do -- don't want to do it. (Even degenerating to the point that dishes and laundry got done quicker!) The Brick has had a ton of deadlines -- didn't want to do them, either. It's probably wise that we're headed up into the mountains this weekend, to do some four-wheeling, see the fall colors and soak in the Princeton hot springs. We wouldn't be any good for anyone, otherwise.

Maybe we'll do some impromptu treasure hunting. Colorado's Western Slope is full of old mining town sites that still have a ruin or two. Maybe we'll find some gold or silver! These people did...

Do you believe this story of roll after roll of coins shoveled out? (I'm not sure I do...but intriguing, nonetheless.)

How about this suitcase of silver ingots, discovered in Cincinnati, OH:

Crusader gold found in Israel...a pouch of gold coins was hidden under a potsherd (broken pot), then discovered by archeologists clearing a site near a Crusader castle.

Or seven million dollars' worth of gold, found in a survivalist's home in Carson City, TX. (Ironically, though he didn't have close family, the policeman who discovered the cache was a distant relative.)

Even beads have been found.  And here's a story of gold being hauled out after 9/11, from a delivery tunnel underneath the World Trade Center. Weird.

Back to work...but I can't wait to blow this popsicle stand. Who knows what we'll discover!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pavlov Strikes Again

....except in our case, it's the scooping noise in the food bag.

I wonder what the fourth kitty was looking at?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saving on Your Food Budget, Part II

...continuing on Part I of this subject. These are some of my favorite ways to save money on food. I'm hoping they'll be of help to you, too.

*BOGO, sales, markdowns.  Have you checked the clearance bins? (That should be a regular stop - it only takes a minute or two.) Look for a salvage store -- my own favorite is the Fri/Sat Store (near Arvada Center) in Arvada, CO. (Yes, it's only open on Fridays and Saturdays.) 
*Nothing wasted –“bits and pieces” angle. I hate knowing that now and then, greens go black and food goes bad in my refrigerator.  Good ways to minimize this: soup, smoothies, and crumbing breads (or making croutons) after they go stale. (Chickens are also a big help in getting rid of uneatables...they honestly don't care.) 
     One of my favorite ways to use this idea when asking friends for dinner -- I will serve soup and rolls, a good salad or fresh fruit first. An appetizer or first course fills guests up nicely before the roast or other expensive protein dish comes out. 

*”Will volunteer for food." I enjoy sharing with friends on group projects -- and often these have something to do with food. If you're helping out by setting up/cleaning up, or in the kitchen, you invariably will be offered leftovers to take home. Do it! This helps the event organizer, but it also gives you freebie extras for future meals.
    One final thing: tithe your good fortune. If you see a fantastic bargain on fresh apples -- and they're out there right now -- buy extra, and give them to a friend who could use the help. (Or encouragement.) Don't forget the librarian who's helped you, the pastor who listens to you, and the neighbor who is so reliable.
     Kindness is important in itself -- but kind actions often have unexpected results. 
                           You will never regret doing them. 

BARGAIN RECIPES   (generally serve 4…but can often be stretched to serve more)

Willo Auger’s Caramel Corn:  6-8 cups popped popcorn, poured into a paper bag. Mix ½ cup butter, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup corn syrup – nuke for 3 min. until bubbling, then stir in 1 tsp. baking soda until foaming. Pour carefully onto popcorn, fold bag over and nuke twice, 1 min. each time, punching bag to keep popcorn loose. Pour into large bowl, mix in 2 cups chopped nuts (or not), enjoy!   Options:  For a lighter version, double the popcorn mixed in. Makes an excellent Christmas present, wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon tie. Good for gift baskets!
Peanut Butter Cookies (no gluten!): 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix together and form into balls – bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 min. 
Cup Cookies:  in one large mug, mix 1 egg, 3 Tbl. brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/3 cup flour, 1 Tbl. butter, 1 Tbl. chocolate chips. Microwave 1 ½ - 2 minutes, eat while still warm. (Can be doubled, then poured into 2 mugs.) 
Davy’s Delight Brownies:  Nuke ½ cup butter until bubbling, then add 1 ¾ cup sugar, 6 heaping Tbl. cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla, ½ tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbl. olive oil. Stir in ½ heaping cup flour quickly only until mixed, then spread in greased 8” square pan. Sprinkle with nuts or choc. chips – any extra ingredient is a “crank.” Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min., until set to the touch. Cool a bit before cutting. Easily doubles – substitute ½ cup applesauce or baby prunes for low-fat version.

Helpful Books:  Tightwad Gazette, More-With-Less Cookbook, Cookbook for Poor Poets, Good Cheap Food, any Depression era cookbooks or memory books