Wednesday, December 21, 2016

One Of Our Family's Traditional Christmas Cookies: Thumbprint Cookies

This recipe comes from my father's mother, Grandma Baldwin.  My mom traditionally made it at Christmas, and I make it every year too!

This is a truly scrumptious little cookie.  The cookie part is a buttery and nutty base with the the jam or jelly giving just the right amount of sweetness.  

In my family, we've always used red raspberry jam or jelly.  This year, because I had it on hand, I used a raspberry, blueberry, strawberry jam blend that I preserved earlier in the year.  You can really use any jam or jelly you like the best, but raspberry is really yummy!  

Here's the recipe: 

Grandma Baldwin's Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 egg
1 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Red raspberry jelly

Preheat oven to 375-degrees

Mix dry ingredients.  Work in egg, butter, vanilla and nuts.  Blend well.  

Shape dough into marble sized balls. Make indention with thumb.  

Bake 10 minutes.  Take out of oven and put in a dab of jam or jelly into indention.  

Return to oven and finish baking 8-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  

Let cool for a few minutes (the jelly will be very hot) and then move to a cooling rack.   

I store this in a pan with wax paper between the layers.    


Give this a try.  It's easy to make and oh, so worth the effort!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hoar Frost and a Jack Frost Frolic


It's very, very cold today and we had clear skies last night - leading to hoar frost.  The earth has been painted with a white palette of crystals.  

This lovely little school primer was always around the house when I was growing up.  I found the stories and illustrations incredibly fascinating and read it many, many times.  

So, when I see frost, my mind turns to this simple little story of Jack Frost and his antics. 

Note that is was written by Mary E. Pennell - Formerly Assistant Supervisor of Schools, Kansas City, Missouri and Alice M. Cusack - Directory of Kindergarten and Primary Grades, Kansas City Missouri

In 1929!
I hope I'm not infringing any copyrights by printing these few pages.  They're just to lovely to not share!

I wonder where Jimmie Dale and Beverly might be now.  

And the story begins.   Don't you just love the simply colored but incredibly stylistic illustrations? 

This and the page below are what I think about when I see a fancifully frosted window.  

Isn't imagination a wonderful thing?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Has Come!

Winter has come in all it's "glory" with...

...frosty whiskers...

...fuzzy coats....

...water issues...

(no more water wagon, now water comes sled delivered)

...and treacherous roofs! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Catching Up Is Hard To Do: Some Fall Duties

Fall is well upon us and most of the trees have dropped their leaves here in north-central Pennsylvania.  The poplar trees hang on until the final end and give us one last blast of color before we settle into winter's dreary palette of grey and white.  

As always, I'm behind schedule and am desperately trying to put the high tunnel garden to bed before the really cold weather sets in.  Last week, I moved in about a half ton of composted horse manure and pulled out the very last of the vegetables I have growing.  

I dehydrated the last of the parsley.  I love the vibrant green that isn't found in commercial herbs.  This is a blend of flat and curly leaf parsleys.   

And pulled the last of the carrots.  How about the vitamin packed orange color!?!

In another blog I read that one should try to leave the fall garden the way you want to find the spring garden.  That's a pretty solid goal!

Here is a partial list of the chores still to be done: 

Finish cleaning weeds, leaves, debris out of high tunnel. 

Partially prune fruit trees in high tunnel so that they don't poke through the plastic roof.  

Trim bushes out front so that they look neat for the winter. 

Fix horse fence where the horses have stuck their heads through and pulled down the wire.  Added to this is get horse fence electrified so that this problem doesn't occur again. 

Cover swimming pool. 

Move rest of manure to area of future you-pick outside raspberry patch. 

Clean up bee yards.

And so on.....

The two little ducklings are all grown up now and looking for a name.  

This one I think might be a male.  He? has the temperament of a male duck but hasn't exhibited the behavior of a male duck... yet. 

I love his coloring.  For some reason he makes me think of a man dressed up in very formal dinner wear - maybe a tuxedo?

This one I think of as a female.  She? is much more demure and timid than the male.  

She has a very interesting defect.  Her tail goes sideways.  You can kind of see it in the photo.  Instead of sticking out straight, it sticks out to the right.  She's mostly white with a  patch of black on her head and tail areas.  

Does anyone have any suggestions for names?  


Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Our town had it's Halloween Parade on Saturday.  As a Rotary member, I was fortunate to be one of the judges for the "singles" category.  What fun!  And I'll tell you, it was almost impossible to choose the most original, scariest, and cutest!  They were all so incredible!

I have to admit that this was one of my favorites.  Very original!


Scary and cute in one bundle!

Even the Coudersport High School Flag Team joined the fun!

I was told by one of our members that this parade has been held every year since 1929.  I think I would like to go into our town's historic society and find Halloween parade photos from old newspapers.  Wouldn't that be unbelievably interesting?  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We Don't Have Frost On The Pumpkin...

...We have snow!  And freezing rain!

I'm not a fan of winter, but, since I live in north central Pennsylvania, I know it's inevitable. 

I've alway heard the phrase, "When the Frost is on the Pumpkin" but never knew from where it came.  So I searched and found references for it in a couple of songs and in this poem.  I think it's really cute.    

When the Frost is on the Punkin 
By James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock, 
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock, 
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens, 
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence; 
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best, 
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest, 
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock. 

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere 
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here— 
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees, 
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees; 
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze 
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days 
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock— 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock. 

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn, 
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn; 
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still 
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; 
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed; 
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!— 
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock, 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock! 

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps 
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps; 
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through 
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ... 
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be 
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me— 
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock— 
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Doesn't that poem just make you feel, hear, smell, taste, and see every part of autumn? 

Happily, the temperatures are going to climb again later this week and the forecast for snow or rain is low.  I need more time to finish putting all of my outside things to bed!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

No Rain Means No Fence!

 We've been slowly but surely getting the property across the road turned into a proper pasture. 

We had lots and lots of poplar trees removed.  You can see the piles.  They'll be cut up and used in our maple sap evaporator.  

We've seeded with pasture seed and mowed again and again to cut back the baby poplar trees that keep wanting to pop back up.  

We've had the Amish build a nice runout for the horses - doubling as an equipment winter storage shed.  

But we're still waiting to put in the posts for the fence.  The fence you can see is on this side of the road and the new fence will go on the other side of the road.   

We've had a summer with very, very little rain.  Without the rain, the ground grew harder and harder.  And as my dad says, "we have bony soil", already!  Lots and lots of rocks.  

So the man brought out the post pounder, attached to the back of a tractor, has twice tried to pound in the posts.  You can see the results below:

When the ground is this hard, the poles split instead of go into the earth.  

So for now, we wait for rain and hope we get enough before the ground freezes!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jack Frost Has Come

After a lovely, warm, albeit, very dry summer, winter is starting to edge it's way into the scenery.  

The trees are changing and last night the high tunnel thermometer registered in at 29-degrees.  Brrr!

View from my back deck.

Although it's lovely, I always feel the tiniest bit of despair.  Winter is coming!  

Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Remember the Ducklings?

Remember the cute little ducklings that came walking out of the underbrush with their momma?  

I put them in my swimming pool "nursery" after their momma disappeared?

Now they are outside with the other poultry and growing fast!  

They're growing actual feathers instead of the cute fluffiness - but they're still adorable!

On the home front.....

See this despondent dog?  

That's our lab, Daisy.  She was banished outside until I could give her a bath with vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn soap because she decided it would be a good idea to say hello to a skunk.  

She still faintly carried the smell after her bath but it wasn't a knock your socks off assault to your nostrils!