Sunday, September 9, 2018

Northern Hospitality


RCMP mug recently added to the stable of coffee cups. A fine new specimen for our Mountie collection as well. Thank you, Niece.


We may have been drinking from it when we recently read this book. 


We were afraid a book about 9/11 would be very sad, and it was, but the overwhelming feeling was amazement at the hospitality of an entire community towards the thousands of people stranded on their island when the events of the day caused the grounding of dozens of planes at their airport. 
So many acts of kindness! A beautiful result from a horrible act of violence.

A synopsis from Amazon:

When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.
As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.
Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.



A recommended by NDL read. And the inspiration for the Broadway play Come from Away.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The VHC


Out of this jumble of plants in the wagon nursery....


...this little monarch larva found the butterfly weed and started to munch.


It is probable that a monarch butterfly found the plant and laid her egg on it.

That would explain better how a very tiny caterpillar could get to the exact plant it needed to eat. Butterfly weed is part of the milkweed (asclepsis) family. It's the one with the orange flowers.

Although the idea of her daringly scaling the sides of the Radio Flyer to survive is the stuff of super hero stories. 

Caterpillar Girl and Wing Woman - the Origin Story. Look for it on Netflix soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Pretty as a Peacock


And proud as one too.


The fanciest resident of the petting zoo we frequent. And yes, the ladies were definitely impressed.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Chad the Container Car


American country cousin to Thomas the Tank Engine.


Hanging out in Bloomer, Wisconsin.


Looks like he's got a mischievous streak. 

And possible gang affiliations. 

We'll be looking for the episode in which he goes to visit his posh relatives.

Trouble, or at the least hi-jinx are likely to ensue.

Tomato Days



So many tomatoes! 


If only we could spread the bounty of the Wisconsin garden out through the year to have real, homegrown tomatoes instead of the pallid impostors passed of as tomatoes at the grocery store in the winter months.

But we can't, so all-you-can-eat BLTs, puttanesca sauce, caprese salad, and salsa are on the menu everyday, several times a day, in tomato season.

And to add to the wonderful experience is the annual reminisce that comes with pulling out a recipe card written in the hand of the giver. 
In this case, Tammy. 

Here is her salsa recipe with adaptations for a smaller quantity. We don't have a many friends as she does. Her recipe would feed a very large group. Ours is just right for a family weekend.


Tammy’s Salsa

4 cups fresh tomatoes (can use part canned tomatoes)
Cilantro to your taste (1/4 bunch)
1/3 large or ½ medium onion
1-3 mild jalapeno peppers, seeded (or more, or some hot ones if you like heat)
1/8 cup (1 ounce) lime juice
1/8 cup (1 ounce) vinegar
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon each salt and sugar

Chop finely or pulse in food processor.

Serve with chips (and margaritas if you are lucky).


This is pretty spicy stuff for a pastor's wife. We are going to send her some recipes from our church lady cookbook for times when canned soup combos are called for. Although we would never want to quash her spirit, culinary or otherwise, salsa as a funeral potluck offering might make some tongues wag, and burn! Tater tot hot-dish might put out more than one kind of fire.

Best of luck in your new role, Tammy. We're on stand-by with Jello recipes if you need inspiration.

Free Puppies!


Remember the bromeliad


She's quite the champ. Here is her fifth pup.


Going to a new home now that it is weaned.



We wouldn't blame her if she retired from the whelping biz, but it has been fun dividing and sharing her offspring.

Will there be more?

If NDL was a Bunny


This is the pattern of dishes she would eat off of exclusively. This is a serving platter.


Clover. From the '70s. 




By this company.


Would look great with a composed salad on top. And a ring of bunnies around it sharing lunch. 

Berries with a Chance of Bears


The Up North young people discovered a beautiful blueberry patch. Easily accessible, and bordering a lovely woods with just the right amount of potential for bears to come out and join in the picking. A hint of danger makes one pick faster so a pail was filled in no time at all. Let the baking commence!

 

We heard once that the average number of recipes that people use from a cookbook is three. Seems low, but realistic given that there is only one recipe we consistently use from The Berry Cookbook. T'would be a shame to tear out just that page, so here it is in our digital recipe record for when that cookbook finally winds up in the thrift sale pile. We give you:

Bessie’s Brown Sugar Blueberry Muffins

From The Berry Cookbook - Carol Katz

Makes one dozen

1 ½ c. sifted flour
¼ t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 egg, well beaten
¾ c. loosely packed light brown sugar
½ c. milk
1 T. melted butter or margarine
1 ½ c. blueberries, well drained after washing and dredged in a little flour

Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a muffin tin.Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Combine the egg, brown sugar, milk, and butter, then mix into the dry ingredients.  
Stir with a fork until the mixture is moist but still lumpy. Fold in the blueberries.
Fill the greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 15 minutes, or until done.

Please note:
Very little fat is used. 
We have substituted orange juice for the milk with good results. 
If you do not have a blueberry patch nearby, grocery store berries work just fine too.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Quilts in the Air


 On their way par avion to a new little one.


Kites, kids, 


birds,


and butterflies.


Winging their way across a big lake and two states to be playmats, changing pads, picnic spots, tents,  naptime aids, and who knows what else for a growing child. Sky's the limit for quilt potential with a little healthy parent and kid imagination.


Fenceline Fiddlehead Forage


Beautiful, tightly wound fiddleheads arising from their ostrich fern base.


Pick only one or two from each so the plants don't suffer. Make sure they are ostrich ferns!


Blanch in boiling water for a few minutes.


Saute in butter. Yum!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gobble, Gobble



Turkey. Not just for Thanksgiving. 

This is a very nice soup.

Keep it in mind for the next soup weather day.

We recently made it on the last soup weather day.

Good anytime.



Turkey Meatball Soup

½ lb. ground turkey
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
4 T. fine dried bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 T. fresh minced parsley or 1 t. dried
S and P to taste
1 qt. chicken broth
½ c. frozen or fresh peas
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely diced (optional)
½ c. precooked tiny pasta, such as orzo, shells, rings, or precooked rice

In a medium bowl, mix together the turkey, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, and S and P. With moistened hands, form the mixture into balls about the size of marbles. Remove them to a large plate, cover with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to cook.

In a large pot, bring the broth to a simmer. Add the peas, carrots, and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Slowly add the turkey meatballs, keeping the liquid at a slow simmer. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until the turkey balls float to the top. Add the cooked pasta, and heat through. Serve in soup bowls and pass additional Parmesan cheese if you wish.

From Susan Costner - Parenting magazine 1991

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Blizzard Bread


Just two weeks ago we were housebound by a spring snowstorm. Today the sprouts are sprouting, the buds are budding, and the grass is greening. Finally!

The good news about the late, last blast of winter was that we finally made bread after vowing to all winter.

We wanted a not too healthy, but wholesome bread that would make good breakfast toast. This recipe for Country White Bread from Taste of Home was perfect.

Punching down risen dough is so satisfying.


Just out of the oven and brushed with butter for a soft crust.


According to our vintage copy of the Farm Journal Country Fair Cookbook the "break" on the sides that we thought was not good, is actually desirable. Does it look "well shredded".


We won't be entering the fair with this recipe, but it is a winner and keeper for the collection. Now that it is documented here it will be available by an easy google search of "Next Door Laura bread" whenever we need it. How cool is that? Quicker than finding a card in a recipe box!


This is a great resource for figuring out "what went wrong?" with our many baking failures (with out having to pester our home ec major friends with questions too often). There is a similar page for each type of baked good - muffins, pies, cookies, biscuits, cakes, etc. And there are blue ribbon winning recipes in every chapter too.

Copyright 1975. Many batter spatters inside.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Country Weekend Ideas


 Bachman's Ideas House. Hurry. Ends April 16.


Living room,


adjacent sunroom,


and dining room are all pretty in


neutral with hints of pink palette.


Things are growing in the kitchen.


There are


Spring green accents


 throughout.


The entryway is an indoor farmyard with


tire swings,


garden fresh produce,


a clever rug,


tools near at hand, 



and inviting welcome


and nostalgic 


beverage stations.


Upstairs, one bedroom is succulent
 


and another resembles a conservatory.





The bathroom is the hive of the living quarters.

 

The third bedroom is for the birds.






And the last bedroom for the bird watcher,


butterfly collector, 


herbalist, 


nature lover,  


and horticulturalist.



Downstairs we go again through the kitchen,


 

for one last look at the layers of detail.



Sorry, can't stay for dinner.


The flowers, kept refreshed everyday are delicious looking.


The living room bookcases feature a trend we hear is all the range. 


Turning books backwards for a less busy look to the shelves.


So beautiful. If we won the lottery.... fresh flowers all the time.


This was a very nice house, but on the scale of how much of a nightmare to dust....


It is about a 9.


We'll be reading up on the newest thing the Scandinavians are doing right* and we are doing wrong. 


 But we are pretty sure the designers did not get the concept of lagom The Lexin Swedish-English dictionary defines lagom as "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right". Lagom is also widely translated as "in moderation", "in balance", "perfect-simple", and "suitable" (in matter of amounts) - Wikipedia, when they over-accessorized this Ideas House.




Oh well, no one really lives here and has to clean around all the clever decor.


And to be fair, due to the very unusual April we have had, the outdoors has had to come in making for a bit of crowding.


Plastic greenery! Real stuff (and taking the tire swings out to the tree) ahead. We hope.


*Hygge. Swedish Death Cleaning.