Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Legend of Jack of the Lantern

It is a tradition here to carve a jack-o-lantern each Halloween.  It just wouldn't be Halloween without pumpkin guts everywhere.  In the early history of the British Isles turnips and rutabagas were carved into lanterns and sat on the porch to ward off evil spirits. 

Our area is rich with Irish ancestry and that is exactly where the legend of the jack-o-lantern started.  One version of the Irish folk tale tells of Jack who tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree.  Once Jack had the Devil up in the tree he carved crosses into the bark so the Devil couldn't get back down. 

Jack only agreed to let the Devil back down if he wouldn't take his soul.  The Devil agreed and went back about his business.  However, it seems that Jack was a thief and when he did finally pass, he didn't have to go to Hell, but wasn't good enough to get into Heaven.  Thus, Jack was doomed to wander and the Devil tossed him an ember that Jack placed into a carved turnip.  This allowed Jack the light to endlessly wander the earth and he then became known as, "Jack of the Lantern". 

"Oh!  fruit loved of boyhood!  - the old days recalling, 

When wood grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling! 
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin, 
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!"

John Greenleaf Whittier

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Randomness

A single, random shot taken at the pumpkin patch last weekend.  Straight out of the camera, I tell ya.  

My daughter is currently in love with this painting. 

I want to hike here next summer...because I already hiked this...yes, I really did. 

I need these...actually the Lucky Stud version.....I could go on and on and on.....

Fall festival time here in Smalltownland this weekend.  Looking forward to good times in a great community.  

Stay is getting cold here on the farmette. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Unexpected Gifts

Saturday I had plans. 

Plans that involved me and a list of chores.  Not too bad, I thought.  Both kids were busy with friends and Secret Agent Man was busy as well. 

Then the plans changed and I ended up taking two fine young ladies on an outing to a local orchard. 

And I was lucky enough to be a part of their day. 

I listened as their jokes, songs, laughter, and friendship seeped from them with joy. 

And to think that I almost missed every moment of this.....

"I may not have gone where I intended to go,

but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." 

Douglas Adams

Sunday, October 23, 2011

7-Up Biscuits

Behold da' biscuit.....

That quintessential southern bread item that every cook, worth her salt, must have in her repertoire.  

If you live in any southern region of the U.S., it goes without saying that you must be able to produce a fine biscuit.  Not just a suitable biscuit for company, but a creation worthy of praise from your own family members.  And, it must not come from a can.  That is comparable to a sin, harsh but true. 

I have tried many standard biscuit recipes, with some great results.  But, this little gem ranks at the top of the list.  How could you possibly go wrong with soda, butter and sour cream.  

People please......just make these....okay? 


7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick, or comparable baking mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up
1/4 melted butter

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Mix all ingredients, except melted butter, in a bowl.  It will form a very soft dough.  Turn out onto a board sprinkled with Bisquick.  Pat into 1/2 inch thickness and cut with your most favorite biscuit butter.  Pour melted butter into a pan.  *I used a 9-inch round cake pan with good results.*  Place cut biscuits on top of melted butter.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Eat with copious amounts of butter, jam, honey, etc ....

You can thank me later.....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Randomness

Happiness is a four legged friend and it doesn't matter what size or variety.  Life is not complete without a little dog hair.....everywhere.  

If you have young ones, or grand-young ones please take advantage of the free audio site, Story Nory.  Free audio tales of the fairy, folk and sometime Greek Mythology variety.  They also have free podcasts available on itunes.  Very nice.

I really need to add this cookbook to my collection.  Soon. 

The first of November debuts the newest novel in this series set in Charleston.  I might need this also. 

Has another week passed already?  
Life is passing at the speed of light I tell ya. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday Afternoons

There is a magical time here on the farmette called, "Sunday Afternoons".  It falls just after lunchtime when we all seem to be at home.  Typically we don't make any plans as it seems that this is the only time during the week where nothing appears on our calendar.  We save this time for ourselves to cook/bake, walk on the farm, watch a movie, play with the dogs,  play ball, be together, etc... 

Sometimes Secret Agent Man takes the tractor out for a spin.  

If I go to the barn my trusty sidekick always goes with me. 

The cows always appreciate the visit. 

Sunday afternoon is a fine time to admire the Nasturtiums that are still blooming on the old plow. 

Time  n.  continuous period measured by clocks, watches, and calendars

Never enough of it together here on the farmette.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Emily Knows Autumn.....

Besides the autumn poets sing
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze

Emily Dickinson

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Randomness

And so I am sharing a photo with you that has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but sometimes I take pictures of everything I see.  

Enough of that....let's move along shall we?

Randy shared this site with me so I could feed my love of turquoise.

I also have a habit of loving real estate a bit too much.  I am feeding that habit here.

I was a fan of The Steep Canyon Rangers before they met up with Steve Martin.  Now it's just awesome mixed with awesome.  Check them out here.

Lots on the agenda this weekend.  I am hoping I get to squeeze a bit of sleep in there somewhere.

Have a good one!!! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Cake......yes, for real.

Ahhhh.....peanut butter.  The divine food that, if stranded on a desert island, would be the one  item I would wish for.  I find that it is really best when eaten straight from the jar, with a large spoon and a tall glass of milk to go with it.  

If you don't have the fortitude to eat it straight from the jar, then I strongly suggest that you bake it in the following cake.  Seriously.  The recipe comes from The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking and my family has already requested another cake....and soon.  

I am going to pass along the recipe straight from the book, however I used two 9-inch cake pans and cooking spray with excellent results.   I also used self-rising flour without a problem.    

Peanut Butter Cake 

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Grease and sprinkle with sugar three cake pans.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  For the cake, in a large mixing bowl beat the shortening, peanut butter, and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  In a separate bowl combine the flour with the baking soda, and add to the mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and after the cakes have cooled for 5-10 minutes, remove them from the pans to a cooling rack.  
Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky as desired
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
milk, as needed 
In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract,  adding just enough milk to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.  Frost the layers as you add them one on top of the other and then frost the sides and top of the cake. 
Delicious, I am telling you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Got Headache?

I love Autumn and all of its glorious colors.  I do not like Ragweed and all of the mucus it produces.  Here at the Farmette we have plied ourselves with prescribed nose sprays, allergy pills, etc...  And, we all still seem to be alive, but the allergy headaches still arise from time to time. 

I am glad that I have modern means to combat my headaches, no matter their origins.  While consulting, The Old Farmer's Almanac,  I came across some interesting headache remedies from the past.  

*Apply tobacco leaves to your temples. 
*Weave a match into your hair. 
*Paste a leaf of cottonwood on each temple and do not remove it until it falls off on its own, taking the skin with it.  
*Mix a beaver gland with olive oil and beeswax, shape it into a pill, and swallow it.  
*Apply cobwebs across the bridge of your nose. 
*Boil cottonweed in lye and smoke it.  

and my personal favorite......
*Form fresh cow manure into a heat-producing poultice and put it on your head. 

While I know that there is a lot of truth behind old remedies, I am just glad that I don't have to put fresh manure on my forehead. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Randomness

I think this might have to start being a regular feature here at the farmette.  Too many random things happen here during the week not to share!

I finally decorated our Lady of the Yard.  I know she was glad to get some attention.  

I don't watch much television anymore, but caught most of this show the other night.  Loved it!  The qualifications of these gentlemen alone are jaw dropping.  And, you certainly wouldn't know it at first glance. 

I need to stay off of this web site.  It could damage my bank account.

One day, one deal.....that's it.

Enjoying some warm temps before the cold weather sets in for good.  The Babs and Mr. B are visiting us from Florida and I am sure they are relieved that it is not freezing.  

Have a great weekend, no matter where you are! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Running Errands

errand  n.  trip to carry a message or perform a task 

Secret Agent Man asked me if I wanted to ride along with him while he ran an errand this past weekend. 

It used to be that errands involved traffic, crowded stores, and stress. 

Now they involve trucks, buckets, barns, pastures, and dirt. 

Such a better option now.