Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Just a couple of things to talk about today. 
First, the person who owns the buffalo brought over a trailer load of hay.

These are huge bales, and it was interesting to watch him unload them with his skid steer.

Times have changed, I guess.   When we had horses many years ago, the hay bales were those smaller rectangular ones, maybe only about 50 lb.--the kind that a person could easily lift.  Now that's impossible without some piece of equipment.  I know that many people still bale in the smaller rectangles, but it seems as though every year I see more and more of these big round bales.

One other thing happening is that the pigs have been moved.  The man who owns 4 of them took all of them back to his place.  He has a better setup for getting water to them than we do, now that the water in their troughs freezes every night and often doesn't thaw during the day.  Hauling water by buckets is no fun, although it may have been good for my arm muscles.  I'll be visiting them often to see how they're doing and maybe even to help with feeding, etc. 

I've spent most of the day inside, making a few loaves of multi-grain bread.  Since I quit buying bread from the grocery store in September, I've made various types including multi-grain, rye (sort of a Swedish limpa rye type), pumpernickel, and a couple loaves of white.  Mr. M prefers pumpernickel, and I like the Swedish rye, but the multi-grain is very good also.  I don't think I'll ever go back to store-bought bread--way too expensive and not nearly as good as homemade.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The pigs have been very busy the past couple of weeks.  They get started right away in the morning and usually stop to nap for awhile in the early afternoon.  Then they're back at it until dark.  Besides grass, weeds, and a few rocks, these are some of the treasures they've rooted up so far.

This farm has been here for 150 years, so I'm sure there are a lot more pieces of metal laying beneath the surface.  The pigs root about a foot deep in some areas. 

Mr. M has been hunting the past two days; the gun deer season started on Saturday and goes through next Sunday.  He's seen several, but hasn't gotten one yet.  Our oldest son and our son-in-law both got their deer already.  So there will be meat in their freezers for the winter.  If Mr. M gets a deer, we'll cut the tenderloins and backstrap into smaller pieces and freeze them.  Most of the big pieces will be cut into chunks and pressure canned.  The really small pieces will become ring bologna. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Fun Quilting Weekend

My friend and I just got back yesterday from a 3 day quilting/knitting/rug hooking/any kind of craft you want to do retreat.  What great fun we had! This is our third year in a row at this particular retreat and we always have such a great time.  We were able to sit at the same table as two women whom we sat with last year, so it was nice to get to know them better.  We also saw many familiar faces from past years and met some new people as well.

This is a picture of the room early one morning before very many people got started.

Here are a couple of pictures of things I worked on.  These are small projects that are completed.

A table mat and small runner.

This is a padded pouch that I will use to store thread, pins, etc. when I go to retreats.

And then a couple of bigger projects that now need to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound.  The apples and leaves on the last one are appliqued on.

This tree also needs a border.


We are already looking forward to going again next year.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Menu System

Putting together menus has often been a challenge for me.  Over the years, I have tried different systems to make it easier.  The one I used for years, just writing down two weeks worth of menus in a 3-ring binder, worked okay.  However, it was not as "perfect" as what I was looking for; it seemed like meals were being repeated too often, and I really didn't enjoy cooking very much because of it. Then I came up with the system I've now been using for about 15 months. 

I generally shop for groceries twice a month, and with this method, it is so quick and easy to do menus for a couple of weeks at a time.

I use a recipe box that holds 4x6 tabbed cards and colored index cards.  There is a tabbed card for each month and also one for each of the days in a month.

The main dishes go on green, yellow, orange, blue, or pink cards depending on whether it's beef, chicken, pork, fish/seafood, or meatless.  Right now there are 88 main dish index cards, which means it could take close to three months before I have to repeat any of them.  However, it wouldn't be that long because some of the main dishes are specifically for a certain time of year, such as soups for the colder months.  Even so, I don't usually repeat a meal more often than every six to eight weeks.

On each of these cards, I have written down the ingredients needed and where to find the recipe if it's not in my regular recipe binder.  As I plan for the two weeks, I pick the first 14 cards in the main dish slot and put one behind each of the next 14 day-of-the-month cards.  As I do each one, I write down on my grocery list any of the ingredients that I don't have on hand.  I then take out the side dish cards (on purple) and add one or two of the cards to each of the 14 day slots, also writing on the grocery list any ingredients I don't have. 

In addition, there are card dividers for Breads, Appetizers, Desserts & Snacks, Beverages, and Holiday, and those get added as needed.

Putting together a menu and grocery list for two weeks generally takes about 10 minutes or so.

This method works beautifully for me.  I no longer get up in the morning and wonder what I'm going to fix for supper that night.  I simply pull out the cards behind the appropriate day, put that day-of-the-month card at the back, and take out anything from the freezer that needs to thaw for supper that day. When that meal is over, its cards go to the back of the main dish and side dish slots so that the same meal doesn't come up again too soon.  We have a simple breakfast and generally eat leftovers for lunch, so this system is only used for the evening meals, but it could be adapted to include all the meals of the day.

Surprisingly enough, I now enjoy cooking, much more than I did previously.

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