Early Spring Sunrise Snow on the Silo

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Wonderland - Frozen Fog

After waking up to this winter wonderland, a high temperature of 45 degrees with rain is forecast for Thursday. Dare I hope we skip winter and head right on to spring? Time to start planning the garden!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Trains, Tractors and FISHING! or Christmas with a 3 year old.

A pictorial recap of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house - Lots of cleaning and last minute preparations were underway.

Boogie was nestled all snug in my bed, watching claymation Christmas stories, eating popcorn and tracking Santa on NORAD.
I, on the other hand, could only dream of a long winters nap!While the little guy tried as hard as he could to stay awake to see Santa, he finally nodded off. He awoke to more boxes then he could imagine and he had a wonderful time ripping off wrapping.Lots of Thomas and train related stuff, race cars, tractors, books, clothes and DVD s. Mommie knitted him a cardigan and matching hat from a wool/mohair blend. He didn't want to take it off, despite it being quite warm I am certain.Grandpa also got him a fishing game like the one he obsesses over at the cabin and it has been going almost non stop since it was opened.
After a nice Prime Rib cooked on the wood stove (nice and rare, just how I like it!) with home made rolls, veggie and potato and a bit of a clean up, I set up a TV and DVD player in Boogie room so he can watch his Thomas DVD s as much as he would like. We have home made chocolate for dessert and Mommie may just have a Jager Bomb or two!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Adventures in Baking - Yummy, EASY Kolachy

Rebel and Boogie : Strategy Meeting

We've been trying to do a little bit of holiday baking and candy making, but the weather is not being cooperative. Keeping the house warm and animals happy is a bit of work and it's taking away from time in the kitchen. I'm really happy to be able to use my wood stove as a slow cooker though. Appeals to my frugal side and my lazy side!
Boogie and I did put together a store bought 'Ginger House'. While it won't be winning any prizes, he really had fun. The cake decorator in me had to learn to take a step back and let him enjoy himself without worrying about technique or symmetry, easier said then done! Right now I'm hoping the roof does not slide off and making a mental note to use home made royal icing in the future.

Kolachy is one of my favorite cookies, and traditional recipe
s required a lot of work and rolling so, needless to say, I didn't make them very often. Now I use a variation of this recipe for a no roll tender pastry that won't make Grandma turn over in her grave (or as a friend said, reach down from heaven and slap you up side the head).
Or, I've never met a recipe I couldn't figure out a way to tweak.
First, I soften 2 sticks of unsalted butter and an 8 ounce package of cream cheese. Low fat works fine in the re
I use my indispensable immersion blender to cream them nice and fluffy.

Mix in 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with a pinch of salt. The key to a tender cookie is to not over mix, stirring only until the dry ingredients are barely incorporated.Then I put the dough out on plastic wrap and form into a log about 2" square. This needs to be refrigerated until firm, at least 4 hours, preferably overnightWhen chilled, I slice into 1/4 thick pieces, allow the dough to soften a bit, add a dollop of fruit filling and fold over one edge. They can also be left open faced. Then bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. They should just BARELY begin to brown and are better slightly under done rather than over baked. I love the dark patina my baking pans develop after years of use!

You can see they are just barely beginning to brown at the edges. this is about as well done as I like them.
Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar to taste.
Since rolling and working a dough can make it tough, this no roll method helps to produce a nice tender cookie!

Cinnamon roasted pecans, salted caramels and peppermint bark are also on the list. Perhaps some peanut butter cups and chocolate covered cherries too. We'll see how long it takes to dig out of this mess tomorrow.

As soon as Boogie gets to sleep I'm off to cook up a batch of Christmas Crack! Check it out, not nearly as scandalous as it sounds!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train

Last Monday, the Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train made an afternoon stop on Marquette, Iowa which is just across the river from Prairie du Chien. They collect money and food donations for various local food pantries as they pass through.

The engine itself, aside from being decorated, was an unremarkable diesel engine.

There are a number of illuminated cars and then some vintage box and Pullman cars.
A band performed from one of the boxcars and Santa and Mrs. Claus visited with the crowd and passed out candy canes.

The Boogie-man had a minor meltdown when he was not able to actually ride on the train, fortunately nothing too serious and he really enjoyed the music.

We visited with Santa this morning in town. Boog only got close enough for a high 5 and a sack of goodies. We attempted the free showing of 'Polar Express' but even with popcorn, only managed about 20 minutes before we couldn't sit still or be quiet. I think we will wait until the summer series before we try again!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun Filled Friday Packed with Projects

This place is a lot of work, especially for just one person! With the threat of substantial additional snow tomorrow and then a deep freeze starting Sunday I still have lots of things I wanted to get done to make it as painless as possible. Fortunately, today was pretty pleasant and mild which facilitated getting a lot done. Boogie, on the other hand, was not so cooperative. A nice long nap would have given me time to get more done.I managed to get the windows covered in the chicken coop and get them bedded down with straw. The outside dogs got plenty of extra straw to combat the cold and damp and I put up a wind break on the guinea pen.
In addition, the window wells in the basement each needed a bale of straw over them for insulation. I purchased a used four wheel drive pick up last Sunday which is making hauling things around the farm much easier! I'd also like to get a good amount of wood up to the house so that I don't have to go out too often in -20 wind chill.

Tomorrow I need to check all the pipes in the basement and get the heat tapes fired up so Boogie and I have running water once the weather turns. I put plastic up on a couple of the more drafty windows, but still have a few more to get done.The puppies appear to be enjoying the snow. Heaven knows as adults they will want no part of it. The little boy (on the left) is still looking for his forever home if you need a cuddle-y stocking stuffer!

Here's hoping we don't get snowed in tomorrow since I'd like to take Boogie to Lancaster to visit with Santa and take in the free showing of 'Polar Express' at the little local theater. I think he'll love seeing trains on a big screen.