Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Candy Corn Stacking Game

Yum!  Who doesn't love the sugary sweetness of Candy Corn?  But did you know this is one treat that you should play with before you eat it?!

Legend has it that Candy Corn is named such because when you stack it up just right, it looks like an ear of corn.  This fun game lets everyone of all ages have a hand at trying to create their own Candy Corn ear.

Candy Corn Stacking Game

1) Give each player their own bag or equally divided bowlful, of candy corn
2) When the leader says "go", each player begins to stack their 
own "ear" of candy corn
3) As the stacks fall into the center of themselves, ultimately collapsing, 
the players have nothing left to do but eat their candy corn
4) The winner is the player who has the last, tallest, "ear" standing
5) Everyone gets a prize, because they are the only ones that would 
want to eat the candy corn they have been playing with!

Have fun and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks- The Sifter

How many times have you read a recipe, only to have
it call for something you can't do in your kitchen.  
The sifter is a tool that used to be a staple item
in all kitchens, and is rare to find anymore.

If you have a recipe calling for sifted dry ingredients,
there is a reason. Sifting lightens the flour, mixes
the dry ingredients more thoroughly, and affects
the final texture of your baked goods.

I still own and use this old copper sifter that my mother used
when I was growing up, and still remember to never, ever
wash it in water because the mesh will rust!  But if you
don't have a sifter in your kitchen, grab a whisk, run it 
around through your dry ingredients, and you
can emulate the same action as a sifter.

Have fun with your next baking project!

Fall Flower Surprises

Several months ago I was writing about the beautiful flowers and plants that we come to expect in the spring and early summer. I told you about my favorites, Marigolds and Zinnias.  Much to my surprise, our mild fall is allowing us to see those same Marigolds and Zinnias bloom again, as volunteer plants.  I have already harvested the seeds for next year, but the few I dropped have managed to grow and bloom in the same pot.  And there are several other flowers, and volunteers, that have decided to make one final effort before the cold of winter hits our area.  Here are some pictures of the bright spots I found around the farm-
I only expect this bright rose to bloom in the spring!
the confederate roses are reaching sky high for the last bits of warm sunshine
this volunteer is a repeat from over a year ago
this volunteer pansy is just getting started and should bloom throughout the winter
I hope you will take a walk around your homestead and
find some last of the season color! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

More Than Just Funnel Cakes- Fair Time !

It may seem like something that our grandmothers did,
but entering homemade goods in the County or State Fair is a 
tradition that I still enjoy.  Many years ago I was one of "those"
women who always entered, and always managed to get a ribbon.  
Then for many years I got caught up in the "world", thinking that the
fair was all about Ferris Wheels, fried oreos, and just for the teen agers.
Somehow I had gotten away from the thrill of sharing those "old fashioned" skills 
and what I was able to make for the displays at the local fair.  Until this year!

Thanks to a friend of mine, I was inspired to get back
to the fair. So this year I entered a few things, and was so excited 
to see them placed where the fair-goers would see
that, yes, there are those of us who still know how
to can our own food, and love to create usable craft items.
And yes, I was blessed with the thrill of a few first
place ribbons.  That is something I will never lose
my childhood excitement over! 

I do hope that you have been able to either participate,
or visit, your local fair this year.  It's a great place
to view traditions like canning, horticulture, livestock
stewardship and crafting.  I am already thinking about what I will create
to enter next year.  And I have been reminded that there is a lot more to the 
fair than the rides and the funnel cakes!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rocket..... Farm Tough

Farming is in no way for the weak or faint of heart. Period. That's just a fact.
Although this beautiful newborn, Rocket, will just about melt your heart,
she has had a tough start in life.
It's because of the blessings like this little one that we continue to farm.

I can remember visiting farms as a little girl.  The cows looked so pretty
out in the field.  They came up to the gate that I hung on, and licked my hand as I 
just watched the herd relax and chew their cud.  As we drove around the 
country, horses grazed peacefully in the pastures, and the chickens
 ran around clucking their happiness.  
What a dream world, what a perfect way to live, I thought!

Well, do I still think farming is a perfect way to live?  ABSOLUTELY!
But it is not for everyone, and no one should be fooled into thinking
that it's all sweet licks and happy clucks.  Farming is tough.  There
are those days when it's almost too much to take, and where
our hearts are wrenched into a million pieces.  Those are the days
where we have to thank the Lord for the blessings He has given us 
on the farm, and know that He is in control.

That's the story of Rocket.  Named for the way she came into the world-
she shot out fast and strong- Rocket is now an orphan.  After a very 
difficult and sad downhill decline, her momma succumbed to infection
and milk fever when Rocket was just over a week old.  
That was one of the worst days we have ever had on the farm.
Sometimes it's almost impossible to understand why these things happen. 
 That's where our faith has to come in, and we must stand strong in 
knowing that God knows what He is doing.  
Now we must move on and help Rocket live out her story.

So far, this little calf is strong, is taking the bottle well, and has found a 
new "momma" in the form of our great calf bottle-feeder here at One Ash.
Rocket doesn't pay much attention to the rest of us, but when her milk-momma
comes along, watch out!  She is running and hopping and attempting 
her young-calf "moooooooo"!  Thanks to the other dairy girls, Rocket
has plenty of warm, fresh milk to fill her bottle 3 times daily.

It's up to us to help Rocket grow into a dairy cow, and one day we expect she
will be in the milking line with all the girls.  It's just a part of farm life that 
her real momma won't be there with her.  But she is a perfect example of why 
we love what we do,
and why this is the way we choose to live.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review- "Miracle in a Dry Season"

In all honesty, I almost stopped reading this book after the first chapter.  It just didn't grab me, and the name of the main character (Casewell) was for some reason just a mouthful that I couldn't ever get past.  But........Miracle in a Dry Season, by Sarah Loudin Thomas, ended up being perhaps the best book I have read all year.

This story of extreme faith, and God's provision for us all, was a wonderful reminder of His strength and blessings for those who believe in Him.  Page after page I read about the strong faith of the residents of Wise, West Virginia.  And because we were without rain here as I was reading this book, the story of their drought resonated with my own needs at the time.

This story is a bit predictable, but the way the town folk interact and live through the tough times is a story that all readers can learn from.  This is a great story of hope and survival.

~this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Want to buy Miracle in a Dry Season?  Or try a Sample version for your Kindle or reader? Click here.

Book Review- "Deceived"

It's been quite a while since I have found a book with not only strong character development, but also with great twists and surprises as in Deceived, by Irene Hannon.  

I am not a huge fan of mysteries, but this one offers a plot line that is a true page-turner.  The main character, Kate Marshall, finds herself caught in what could be a mothers worst nightmare when she sees a boy who looks like her deceased son.  As the story goes, there are those who appear to be heroes, and then those who turn out to be just playing a game.

As this intense, suspenseful book unfolds, the reader learns exactly why it is titled Deceived.  Without giving away any secrets, I can safely say that it happens more than once in this story.

~this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.