Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wood stove heating

This is our wood stove. It sits in what would have been the formal parlor of our ancient farmhouse. In our home this room is lovingly referred to as the, "hot room". When the stove is roaring this is the room to go to and warm your toes, dry your boots, and heat up your body. The dogs love it and typically our Jack Russell sleeps right in front of it. How she can stand the heat, I will never know. Luckily, we don't depend on it to heat our home. We do have modern heat sources. However, during the ice storm last year it did heat our home and cook our food. It really was a saving grace.

If you have a wood stove in your home, then you know how much work it is. Secret Agent Man cuts all the wood for us. Typically he uses trees from our farm, or a friend's farm, that have fallen and does not cut healthy trees. It is a lot of work for him. Then comes the work for the inside of the house. The cleaning of the stove, sweeping bits of wood on the floor, and you can clearly see in this picture that the glass door needs to be wiped down.

Even though I think our wood stove is a lot of work, while reading one of the Foxfire books, I developed a new appreciation for the ease of our work.

"We had an open fireplace in the living room. We'd build the fire up in the fireplace and sit around that at night. We'd take the ashes up and rake hot coals and maybe a chunk of wood and cover it up with the ashes, called banking. The next morning, whoever got up first, usually my daddy, would rake them out. He'd put some kindlin' in there and build up a fire. We didn't depend on matches then like we do now, so we'd have to keep the fire vovered up. If your fire went out and you didn't have any coals to build the fire, you'd have to go down to the first neighbor and borrow some coals. You'd take a bucket or somethin' down there and get the bucket full of coals and bring them back to the house and put them in and get your fire started."
R.M. (Mack) Dickerson, Summer 1976
The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Book
Faith, Family, and the Land

For more wood stove talk, be sure to check out Tipper.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Quick and easy dinner rolls

I have no doubt that there are many of you out there who will read this and think, "Hey, I have made those rolls." The recipe is in virtually every church lady cookbook that I own. Simple and economical, the recipe can't be beat. I always have the ingredients on hand, and they taste pretty good too.

Let's get started, shall we?

Combine the following:

1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix together in a large bowl. Typically I use a whisk and mix until the batter is smooth.

Spoon batter into a greased muffin pan. Fill each cup about 1/2 -3/4 the way full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve while hot with plenty of real butter.

I have read several variations on the recipe I have listed. You can omit the sugar and you can also use salad dressing instead of the mayo. Either variation will give a very slight difference in the flavor.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Our trees are quiet.....

slender and gaunt......

almost skeleton like in their form...

content in their current state....

waiting for spring.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A walk to the springs

I think it's about time that we took a walk to the spring that is located on my farm. Known as, "The Waterfall", to us, it is a series of small falls that come out from a hillside. Located just a downhill walk from my front porch, this spring provided fresh water in the early days of my farmhouse. Make sure you have on your best hiking boots, as the slope is a little slippery from the leaves and recent rain.

Our first stop is at this structure. We think it is the early well. The top has been covered, but it is located directly above a strong water source. Wonderful stonework and amazing to think how much time/skill it took to devise this structure.

The first of one of four small waterfalls on our walk. After a good rain, the falls flow quite strongly. In fact, after a good rain, you can hear the falls rushing while you sit on my front porch.

This we believe to be the remnants of the old spring house. The stones are fitted together perfectly and there is some nice moss growing. This is a favorite, "hunting spot", in the warmer months. See that little trickle of water there in the corner. Well, it can flow quite heavily. After big rains, we can come here and find all matter of incredibly old stoneware, pottery, and mason jars/lids. Now, mind you, these are shards, bits and pieces of things. But so interesting to think who was the last person that touched them. Or, maybe what food items the container held.

The spring house flows into this little stream. We have also found many shards of pottery here too. Bits of plates and curves of bowls or cups. I have also found an arrowhead that looks like it was not quite finished. Very rough, but shaped quite accurately.

This is our last stop for today. And, quite possibly, our most interesting. This small waterfall involves a cave. You can see the opening here at the top part of the picture. Water flows from the cave and down these moss covered rocks. My Australian Shepherd loves to hop right up those rocks and walk into the cave. He doesn't seem to go very far and comes right back out to take a drink.

It is time to head back to the house. And, we have no choice but to go up.....straight back up that slippery hill we made it down. The dogs will lead the way and do be careful.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Mad Ones....

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live,

mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,

the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,

but burn, burn, burn,

like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.....
-Jack Kerouac

Saturday, January 16, 2010

These are my kind of men

On Monday, January 18th, at 9pm eastern time, The History Channel will debut a new show entitled, "American Pickers". The show will follow business partners Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, as they search America for hidden antiques and treasures. They are experts in antiques and cultural history, who run an antiques business based in Iowa. Their company, Antique Archaeology, is all about Americana, salvage, and what some might consider junk.

Wolfe and Frank are American antiques experts who have been friends since the 8th grade. They travel the back roads of America in search of the unexpected. Their quests lead them through small towns and, in turn, they meet eccentric individuals in possession of junk, memorabilia, and historical relics. They describe themselves as, "professional pickers". Sometimes they turn a good profit and sometimes they walk away with, literally, a piece of junk.

I don't know what excites me more...

the thought of the open road being my office

junk piles

the thrill of "the find"

abandoned barns

hidden antiques

The thought of all that rust and junk is making me break out into a sweat already. I can't wait for Monday night.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wishing and Dreaming

It is still quite cold here, with temperatures still in the twenties today. This has been a long cold snap for our area. It is only January and I am already pining for some warm weather.

Wishing for more family trips to the National Zoo.

Dreaming of our trees bearing fruit.

Wishing for some more two-tone sunflowers in the garden this summer.

Dreaming of blackberry picking. Okay maybe not picking them myself, but you know...the warm weather that comes with the whole process.

Wishing for blue skies, bright sunshine, and lots of green around the farm. Heck, even the weeds in this picture look good right now.

The temperature is supposed to rise into the forties tomorrow. Practically a heat wave, I tell you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hardworking farm dogs

It's a hard life here on the farmette, especially for our dogs. You know, tunneling and hunting for vermin. Sleeping in that chilly barn....

Chasing squirrels and making sure the chiclets haven't fallen into a well.

Rounding up cattle and chasing tractors.

Retrieving birds and howling at the moon.

I don't know if they are going to make it through the winter.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Farm chores

I am not a Secret Agent Man, but I play one on the farm when I dress in his overalls and work boots. Yes, chores had to be accomplished on the farm during the cold weather. Since Secret Agent Man was at work, I took it upon myself to appropriate his cold weather gear. I think this crazy sideways picture is typical of how things run around here.

Our barn is top secret, as you can see by the sign on the door. No pictures were taken of the interior. You know, the tractor and meadow muffins inside are all government protected.

I had a little help today in the form of The Deerslayer. He has been pretty tolerant of my picture taking lately. We checked the stock tanks and cleared away the ice. The cows were all accounted for and apparently loving the snow. You would think they would be laid up in the toasty barn, but no.

Since there wasn't enough snow on the grassy areas, for the sled to be operational, the scooter seemed to work nicely on the road. Thus taking my son on down the road before I could think up anything else that needed to be done.

This left me with some time to enjoy the scenery.......

Many thanks to Mother Nature.


Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed to wood and field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Volume: Birds of Passage

Monday, January 4, 2010

How cold is it?

It is cold here in Kentucky. I realize that is not going to garner much sympathy, as it is incredibly cold in many other parts of the U.S. right now. However, in our neck of the woods we have some interesting ways to describe how cold it REALLY is.

Maybe it is as cold as a frosted frog.

Cold as a banker's heart or as cold as a well digger's tail.

Cold as a cast iron that IS cold.

Cold as an ex-wife's heart.

We are expecting cold temperatures here all week. The temps are dipping into the teens during the night and we are expecting single digit temps later in the week.....along with some snow.
Personally, I would prefer it to be hotter than Satan's house cat right about now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas, the final installment...I promise.

We are very fortunate in that we celebrate Christmas with different family members, some of which we only see during the holiday season. We had Christmas with Secret Agent Man's family, then with Gran and also with The Bird. After Santa paid his visit, it was time to load up and take a trip to The Babs and Mr. B's house. As you can see by the sign on my mom's front porch, they are known as, Nana and Papa, to my children. Yes, it is so warm at their house that my mom still has flowers on her front porch.

Sunny and in the fifties during the day, it did get down into the thirties during the night time hours.

We still enjoyed the weather.

Still much warmer than our Kentucky weather of the daily high in the thirties!

There were so many cousins to play with....the weather was not even a concern for Toots.

The tiniest girl in this picture....well, she tried to put some chapstick on my dad's Jack Russell Terrier. I am so sorry that I missed that picture.