Mystery Photo 10-29-14

Here is the mystery photo of the week. DSC_0281a

And the clue is – ‘But of course it was needed back in the day’

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Mystery Photo 10-22-14 results

I was sure someone would have guessed this one.

Here is the clueDSCN9072a

And here is the answer – Milkweed DSCN9072

So that’s why I gave the additional clue that “look at it quick before it’s gone”

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Starting another painting project

When I got home from work today I had to make a decision. Should I lay on the couch drinking a Diet Coke and eat Halloween candy or go outside and start scraping the machine shed so I can paint it yet this fall? Seriously, the couch gig sounded like such a much better idea with the wind blowing and it cooling down in the afternoon. But to even my surprise I put on a sweatshirt and some gloves and headed outside. I was really glad the part of the shed that I wanted to work on was out of the wind, so it wasn’t too bad. I’m a little concerned that I might have lost some of my nerve when it gets windy and your ladder starts to blow sideways. But luckily I didn’t have that problem at all today. So after I find my new scrapper and trusty extension ladder  - I was in business. Now there are a lot of things that I am not good at, but honestly I can scrape a building like the best of them! It’s just too bad that it’s not a good paying job right? And I must say that I like to do this work in tank tops, shorts, and flip flops much better than the wardrobe attire that I had on tonight. I had a scarf to keep my hair somewhat under control, sweatshirt, crop thick pants, socks, shoes, and gloves. Yea, not a pretty sight but I was warm. Now that this part of the machine shed is ready to paint, I’m hoping that the weather cooperates and I can get it done yet this week.

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Going for a walk – Plum Creek Bike and Nature Trail

The weather hasn’t been too bad lately and because it seems like I’m sitting more and more behind the desk at work, I thought I’d better get up and go for some walks during my lunch hour. I mean I literally ate a whole bag of Halloween candy Sunday night by myself, so a walk (more than once!) should be included in my day. And with having the walking path right behind the building where I work there should be no more excuses. So that was my plan as I left home this morning with my tennis shoes tied and off to work I go. Now I have to wear different shoes during the day, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t change back into these tennis shoes during the lunch hour. And guess what? It was a really good plan. Not only did I get to see tons of birds, but also I swear there was a squirrel by every tree gathering the black walnuts and running off with their treasures. At our farm I don’t think I’ve ever seen a squirrel in the 30+ years. Kinda weird isn’t it? But with crazy dogs and cats running around all the time, it doesn’t leave much room for squirrels to survive. OK, back to my walking excursion. The trail that I went on was the Plum Creek Bike and Nature Trail and as I was walking on it I thought how lucky this town is to have such a nice path to enjoy. Maybe it was the sun shining with a cool wind hitting my face or the leaves crunching under my shoes, but I was really enjoying this. I had my phone along to keep track of the time and of course it has a camera on it, so I snapped a couple of pictures along the way. Are you surprised? I didn’t walk the whole 5 mile loop today, but maybe I’ll walk it after work sometime. I spend too much time checking out what’s in the creek and counting the squirrels as I go by to really focus on getting a lot of walking done. Oh yea, maybe also taking pictures :)

Speaking of pictures, here are the ones that I took today. The first one is part of the path that I was walking on. I kind of like how it turned out because to me it looks like something that you glue up on the wall behind your couch or something doesn’t it?   20141027_114419_resized (1)The rest of the path that I walked on went by an old school house, some cows just hanging out, and a vineyard.

The old school house stand pretty proud against the fall sky

The old school house stands pretty proud against the fall sky

I think these cows have it made! Their pasture has a small creek running through it!

I think these cows have it made with a small creek running through their pasture

There is a winery along the way on the path and grapes as far as you can see all lined up in the fields

There is a winery along the way on the path and grapes as far as you can see all lined up in the fields

I ended up at the pond and then turned around to head back to work. I saw this little caterpillar and couldn’t help but notice how much brown he was wearing. The old wives tale is that the more brown –  the harder the winter. Looking at this little guy, I’d say we’re in for a whopper of a winter!20141027_115710_resized

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Combining Corn is done!

Combining corn is done for another year. Now this is either good news or bad news. The good news part of it is that the stress of trying to get the harvest done is over and it’s not even November. Whoo Hoo!! But the bad news is that when you are done it’s the end of your crop and it seems like you’re always hoping for more you know? But for tonight, well I’m glad that Daryl got done. It’s as exciting to see the combine come back in the yard as it is to see it go out for the first time of the season. DSCN9134

As for me? Well I spent the day working on getting some stuff painted around the farm. I wanted to get for sure the old milk house painted and the fence by the cattle yard done today. Now there’s been much debate on the color of the milk house and I really wasn’t sure what color it should be. So I left it up to Daryl and he said that the milk house has always been white and I guess then I should paint it white again. DSCN9125My plans for this building is to make it into a play house for when we have family over the little kids can go in there and play. Seriously I think that will be pretty cool don’t you?  I laughed when I was working on painting today because I kept having Smoochie the little orange kitty hanging around. She’d rub against the pail or the wall and then she’d rub against my legs. Needless to say that at the end of the day I had white stripes all over my legs from her. When I was washing it off later, I found out that Daryl had some trouble with the cat when he was opening up the paint. And when the cat had gotten white all over her face, well Daryl ended up having to give it a quick bath in the barn. I would have liked to see that!  I was going to show the before and after of the milk house, but I didn’t get enough of the landscaping bricks on Friday, so you’ll just have to wait to see the official ‘after’ picture.

After I got the milk house painted, it was time to move on to the fence. I took a quick snapshot of the fence before and after and even though it might not look like that much of a difference – it really was and it looks a lot cleaner now.

Before

Before

After

After

Daryl was also able to get the cow yard cleaned up for the winter months in between unloading corn today. We had some trouble with Ed the bull lately, and he’d put his head under the one gate and keep lifting it up and down until he broke the hook. Now you’re probably asking yourself, who cares if they broke the hook right? Well the gate was the only barrier between the cows and all our round bales of hay. Yea, once they’d get into the shed they were some pretty happy cows! But since their couple days of fooling us, Daryl put a kabash on that and now they’re locked out for good. In the meantime, they sure made a mess. So that was his other project today, cleaning up the cow yard. (Looking at this picture, it seems like this fence needs a little paint also! )DSCN9127

And the photo of the day is that of our cows while Daryl is working in the yard. DSCN9130

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In the zone man!

I knew today was going to be a perfect fall day. Just the kind of day that you should be on the water kayaking right? Well, that wasn’t going to happen today! Daryl is working hard to get the corn out of the field before the weather turns and I have more than enough to keep me busy. I really want to see if I can start painting today. And wouldn’t you just know it? Wayyy too much dew last night and with the last couple days of rain, the wood was too wet. Arrrgghh! OK, so first things first. I had some chicken breasts in the refrigerator, so I quick threw a marinade on it and back into the refrigerator it went for supper tonight. Next? Let’s get a pork roast into the crock pot so I can make some shredded pork sandwiches. I kind of made up this recipe as I went and who would have known that it actually was pretty good? Since I kind of made up the recipe, I don’t think that I can give you the actual amounts. But I’ll give it a shot on how I did it. I cut up an onion and put that on the bottom of my crock pot. Then put the pork roast on top of that. Next I mixed 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 of a cup of brown sugar, put in a pretty good dash of soy sauce, a couple of tablespoons of garlic, splash of olive oil, some red wine that I had in the kitchen :) , salt and pepper. After I poured it on top of the roast, I let it cook on high for around 6 hours.DSCN9075After it was tender and cooked, I shredded it and added some barbecue sauce. Now I’m not that big of a pork person, but this roast was good! But since I wanted it for dinner, and it wasn’t going to be done yet, I had to grab the chicken that was in the refrigerator and barbecue that up quick. I knew that I’d have too much, but that was OK. After dinner, I used the leftover chicken and mixed that with some chicken broth and added the leftover rice also from dinner, some carrots, onions and celery. And just like that we have chicken and rice soup! Well since I was in the kitchen, I also made a zesty shrimp pasta dish to put in the refrigerator for this week. This one I also kind of made up and it’s also not too bad. The last thing that I’m making today was a chocolate cake with sour cream frosting. I’m not sure why are clothes are getting a little too tight, do you? I washed two batches of dishes by hand and ran the dishwasher twice also. Now it’s time to move on to another activity. After I picked up all the floor rugs, I quick gave the floor a good scrubbing. You would think with only Daryl and I in the house that it wouldn’t get that dirty right? I threw the rugs outside and found out later that the Fearsome Five really was also pretty glad that I cleaned the floors! DSCN9122Do you ever put stuff off and then finally get so crabby about it, that you just think ‘all right’!! I’ll do it. Well, that’s me and the changing of the closets. Our house is an old farmhouse and the closets aren’t that big, so I have to take out the summer clothes and switch it for fall and winter. I’ve come to realize that with the company work shirts that we wear, I really don’t need that many clothes and I’ve gotten really pretty good at the whole purge thing. So my summer clothes were on two small piles and now to move in the winter stuff. It’s kind of dorky what I do, but I hold each piece of clothing up and look at it and see if it’s worthy to go into THE closet. See I told you it was dorky. If I haven’t worn it or I don’t think I’ll wear it, into the Good Will pile it goes. And if I’m on the fence on something, it might or might not make it – it just depends on my mood. It was a great feeling to have this done again for the next 6 (hopefully less!) months. I’m not sure why I put this off every time, but it’s pretty much a given that I do. Now what should I do? Daryl was busy doing field work and I needed a plan for me. Well, laundry was on my list. Like I said the weather was great, so I did I think around 6 loads of laundry and hung only 3 on the line. Most of the line stuff was work clothes or jeans and pants. You know, bigger stuff. The smaller stuff like socks and also towels all go in the drier. I like the smell of fresh clothes on the line, but I don’t really like a towel dried on the line. I like my towels to smell like fabric softener. After checking again if I could paint, I thought I’d better wait until tomorrow to start. Now about this time, Daryl came home again and he asked me to watch the corn wagon and auger. No problem, but I wanted to grab my camera just in case I got a little bored.

Daryl asked if I could help watch the auger

Daryl asked if I could help watch the auger

DSCN9083 So here are some of the pictures that I took while I was watching the auger. Good thing I didn’t have any problems with the auger, I was having a good time getting the pictures! I was going to go for a quick run after he got home, but I just got lazy and watched a movie instead. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get a run in!

Our roses are still blooming and for some reason they are both pink and yellow?

Our roses are still blooming and for some reason they are both pink and yellow?

Sweet Miss Reno. Always ready to give you some love!

Sweet Miss Reno. Always ready to give you some love!

I swear Kaiser poses for his pictures!

I swear Kaiser poses for his pictures!

Our drill just waiting for another Spring to come

Our drill just waiting for another Spring to come

One of our new little chickens.

One of our new little chickens.

Messing with my camera settings to get this picture.

Messing with my camera settings

Tools in the machine shed. Hummm I see a pulley, I wonder if Daryl would notice if it was gone?

Tools in the machine shed. Hummm I see a pulley, I wonder if Daryl would notice if it was gone?

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Coupons – what a challenge!

Well with my milk house project underway, I wanted to run to town ‘quick’ and pick up some landscaping edges and also get to another store to be able to use their sales flyer and my coupons – it was a Win Win type of trip right? With my coupons in hand and as I climbed into the truck, I wanted to be home somewhat early. If I budget my time right, I was going to get to the grocery store and also the craft store. But first things first, I needed some gas in Daryl’s truck. I had enough to get to town, but probably not enough to get back home. No big deal and after I put it about 1/2 full, I also grabbed a slice of pizza and a couple of Diet Cokes. The cashier was busy talking to someone in the store when I was paying my bill and I was soon rolling down the highway . And you know when all of a sudden you just know something isn’t quite right? Well, I had one of those feelings. I couldn’t just figure out what it was, and then I knew. The gas station didn’t charge me for the gas. OK, not a big deal and I’ll call back to the station right? Well, the girl who checked me out was gone and they wanted me to come back in tonight so their drawer counts were correct. I said that I’d stop back on the way back home. Even though it’s kind of out of my way, I didn’t want to be on some list that bring out on people who didn’t pay! I was sure hoping that this isn’t how the whole night was going to go either! Well, I soon found out that it was just the beginning.

After weaving around all the road construction in town, I finally saw the Walgreen’s that I wanted to stop at. Well, the road was closed and there was no way that I could get to it. OK, it’s not a big deal and there is one on the opposite side of town and I’ll just go there. I finally got to the other store and with my coupons and list in my hand, I knew that I was running late against my schedule but this shouldn’t take too long. So as I’m walking through the aisles and seeing that some of the sale prices were right and some were not. I was pretty confused and off to find the sales clerk. To be honest, she was also pretty confused, but also pretty nice. She said that she’ll help me when I’m ready to check out and make it right. Well, a little later she came to me and said that even though the ‘monthly sale prices’ are right, I have last week’s flyer. Yea, not cool. So now I have to make a decision. Do I want to just leave and call it a day? or should I go in the truck and get my coupon binder and go from there? Well, I’ve never brought my coupon binder into the store before – until tonight. I thought as long as I’m here, I’m going to see what I can buy against the flyer and my coupons. Now I normally only buy things that are Buy One get One 1/2 Off or Free so it makes it a little challenging. As I was trying to figure out my list, I was getting hot and flustered but I stuck with it! I thought I’d be in the store around 20 minutes and it ended up being 90 minutes!! When I was checking out, there was a lady behind me in line and said that using coupons are such a challenge. Man if she only could have hung out with me this last hour and a half, she’d really think that this was true! But as I’m loading the 6 bags of stuff into the truck, I took a quick glance at my very long receipt and saw that I saved over 44% off the overall cost of my bill. Score!!

With spending way too much time in this first store and knowing that I had to drive back 40 miles to pay for my gas yet tonight, I knew that I could only get to the Home Improvement store to pick up my landscaping stuff. The kid who was helping me was really funny and nice and not only did I find what I needed right away, but he helped me load it too.

I stopped back at the gas station and paid for the gas and I went home. It was much later than I had hoped, but I guess that’s just how some nights go. And will I keep clipping coupons? You bet!

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Puff Pastry – 2 easy recipes

You know that Daryl’s been in the field lately and I’ve been trying to come up with new ideas on what to have in the house that’s easy to grab and is also good. So with the apples in the back yard, the idea of using them for at least one of the desserts makes sense to me. I looked through some of the recipes that I have and finally came across one that I liked. It was a recipe that’s fast and also easy. Below are the directions on how to make it. ** Advice, when you add the apples to the puff pastry, don’t add the extra brown sugar that’s left in the bowl. Even though it sounds like it might be a good idea – it spreads all over your pan while it’s cooking and your kitchen might end up like mine. A whole lot of smoke!

Ingredients
1 whole sheet puffed pastry, cut in half
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon  (Because I didn’t have any lemons, I gave it a good shot of lemon juice instead) 
2 whole apples, cored, halved and sliced thin, but not peeled
Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. DSCN9051Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice to the apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

My apples were too thick, next time they need to be thinner!

My apples were too thick, next time they need to be thinner!

Arrange the apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Here is where you should not do what I did. I added the extra juice from the bowl.

Here is where you should not do what I did. I added the extra juice from the bowl and ended up with the sugar burning

Remove from the pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Serve with caramel sauce and chopped pecans. I would also recommend a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!!DSCN9056
Now I had another problem. The puff pastry come with two sheets in a box and what should I do with the other one? Now this was easy to figure out. I have this recipe that I have used and they turned out really good. And once again it’s fast and easy.

Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of lemon juice
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, and lemon juice and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!DSCN9058
Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares.DSCN9059 Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. DSCN9060Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Refrigerate the filled pastries for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. I add powdered sugar to the tops of them or you can drizzle frosting over each one. DSCN9062

 

 

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Commitments

Have you ever thought ‘Yea, I’m going to get ___ done’ and then you try to convince yourself that you really mean it? Well that’s how I feel about painting this fall. I’ve been telling everyone that I was going to get some more painting done and it shouldn’t be a problem to get it done yet this fall. I even put it on my calendar – so you would think that I was serious or something. Well, I have been procrastinating and putting off buying the paint or scraping the buildings. See I painted the white buildings before all the red and the white is needing some love. And I thought if I actually started the work, well I’d have to also finish it. But the other day I actually went to the farm store and started to look at paint. I didn’t see at first the paint that I wanted and well that was enough to have me start for the door and call it quits. But then I thought that I’d better just stick it out and found someone to help me. OK, I found this really nice young kid who said he would help. Who would have known that he was actually this over achieving kid who must have been going for the Employee of the Month or something! But he eventually found the right paint so I didn’t have any more excuses and said that I’d take the 5 gallons of white. Then I thought that I’d better buy a paint scraper and paint brush while I’m at it. With my bill around $100 my thoughts have gone from ‘I sure hope I get painting done this October’ … to holy crap I just spent a lot of money and I sure hope that this paint goes far when I’m painting. I guess in order for me to actually get something done, I make myself have commitments. I just wish my commitment for October was to go kayaking more :) So here is the beginning photo of the old milk house. There’s been some debate in our house if it should be painted white or live on the edge a little bit and paint it red? Today I think it’ll be white – but until the paint actually is going on it, it’s anyone’s guess.

Our old milkhouse that needs to be painted

Our old milkhouse that needs to be painted

 

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Mystery Photo Challenge 10-22-14

What could this be? DSCN9072a

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | 3 Comments