Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Exploring the Small World, A Spice Drawer to Clean

Good Evening,

I want to welcome new followers at Simple Living, Leigh at 5 Acres and a Dream, and Lorraine B. I hope you enjoy your visits.

Today I've been looking through a drawer of older spice containers that were my mom's, and my grandmother Thompson's when she lived here,  and even a few from my grandfather Holum's cottage on Gull Lake years ago. There were several old tumeric cans, including a Red Owl brand from the 60's or 70's. There is a much older Flavorite can, which would have been from the Super Valu Store in Brainerd during the 40's or 50's. Note it is priced at 12 cents. The last one is a Nash's brand by the Nash-Finch Company, which was a grocery distributor in the middle of the 20th century. They might be around yet. I would estimate this one as a late 1940's can, but I'm not sure.

The next two are older cans of McCormick's whole nutmeg priced at 15 cents and a Durkee's curry powder. I like the metal pull-off tops.Both of these cans are probably 40's era, because Durkee's started the slide top in the later 50's I believe. Not sure of that.

Both of these are Standby brand Poultry Seasoning and Pumpkin Pie Spice marked 16 cents. They have an older style slide top.

I'm not sure when Durkee started using cardboard for some of their spices. I think they used it mostly for whole spices. The blue-ink stamper would put them in the 60's or early 70's. The Watkin's flavoring was ordered by my grandma when the Watkin's man would make his rounds around the farms here. She would also order salve and maybe "nectar" concentrate for a summer drink at "dinner" which nowadays would be "lunch." 

I remember this blue food coloring bottle as a very small kid in the late 50's, early 60's. There were 3 others in red, green and yellow.

I did get the drawer cleaned and hope to display these old spice containers in the kitchen. I think I'll have to plan a little cabinet, maybe with a glass door. Will see. 

While I was busy, the kitties were trying to keep warm. Annie and Josey in the stairway.

Byron up high.

Have a good night.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

First Attempt at Yeast Dough

I wanted to make Julekage (Norwegian Christmas bread) before Christmas, but didn't manage to get that done. Today I tried something similar. The recipe for Julekage was too complex for me and I was having trouble reducing it for a smaller quantity. I'll work on that later, and make both loaves and buns.

You see the Julekage recipe at the bottom of the photo. Instead of that, I chose a Hvite Bollar (white rolls) recipe at the top, cut it by half and added cardamon, dark and gold raisins, and cherries. This type of cardamon bun usually calls for citron, but I didn't have any, so I soaked the raisins in a little orange juice.

My cousin in Wisconsin gave me a gently-used mixer for Christmas, and I like it especially for mixing. However, I decided to knead by hand, since this wasn't a very big batch. I'm thinking next time I won't let the raisins get so wet, since that made the dough somewhat difficult to shape into nice smooth rolls. Anyway they are a little rough looking and not too uniform. So I have to learn by doing better next time. The quantity was a cake pan of 12 and then a small round pan.

The cardamon and orange zest had a good flavor and overall, I am satisfied for now.

And throughout it all, Big Boy Byron didn't even come into the kitchen!

Have a good day. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Amaryllis in Winter

I like amaryllis in the wintertime. I always buy the bulbs too late for Christmas blooming, but then I justify it by thinking that I need the color in January during the dead of winter. There are snobs who don't like amaryllis but my feeling is that's not my problem. The Red Lion is what I planted this year.

I also like the variegated types. I try to keep them over the winter in the basement, but usually they are not as dramatic when they bloom the second time around. I don't mind. They are usually smaller. But still beautiful.

Another amaryllis. I'm beginning to wonder who appreciates all this on this blog. I'm just beginning, so suppose I should be more patient.

Sometimes I'm doubting what to do, and thinking folks would rather just hear a lot of misery, from what I've read for at least nine years following them. I hope I don't ever resort to that. I'd rather fail. I choose to post positive, happy aspects of my life, and if folks want misery, they will have to look elsewhere. I hope you have a good night. Peace be with you.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Keeping Busy in Minnesota Winters

Hello. Thanks for joining me today. I thought I would share a little about the importance of keeping busy with something constructive in the cold winter. While I love winter and the beauty of the season, I didn't just fall off the pumpkin wagon. There are some aspects of winter that can damage the psyche if we don't try to be productive. If you don't have anything to do, and you live in an isolated place in the country, you might just lose your marbles.

I think of winter as the opportunity to get away from the work I must do, to embrace the work I like to do. You must have an interest and you must see positive results. One of the things I've enjoyed is woodworking, refinishing and simple projects around the house. Here is a table I worked on last year. It was a wreck, but I'm happy with the results. I made a new tabletop and replaced the drawer front and hardware.

I built this red oak bookcase three or four years ago at the Eagle Bend High School in an evening adult class that was held during the winter. It was fun to go and talk to others interested in the same things as I am and to complete something that I could use and have some pride in.

A small chair that belonged to my Grandma Thompson. I used some leftover deck stain and distressed it with some craft paint, then a clearcoat and a new seat.

Birds are important to me, and I made this picture from a Fleet Farm Store birdseed bag, when they still sold feed in paper bags. I refinished an old frame from a rummage sale.

As you can see, winter is the time to get things done in the house. Summertime is too busy with the garden, mowing and upkeep outside, and also planning what I can get done when the snow flies! Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Visitors

This week, there have been several visitors to the feeders outside my windows. I've been feeding birds all winter, and there has been a small variety here. One of my favorites is the black-capped chickadee. They are so stern with their chick-a-dee-dee-dee call.

The downy woodpecker spends time at the suet cage.

Red-bellied woodpeckers in an oak and nibbling on suet.

Sparrows content with scraps on the ground.

The screen is obstructing the redpoll, but you can see the beautiful markings. 

Young bluejay getting some sun.

And finally, a rooster pheasant stopping by today. I need to put out more cracked corn tomorrow.

I'm glad you stopped by, and I welcome any comments.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Welcome to the Wykeham Observer

It's been an extremely cold Christmas and New Year season, but I think we may be experiencing a little "January thaw" for a few days until it gets cold again. 27 above right now!                                                                                                                                                                      

The road in front of the farm where I live looks a little forbidding. But the house is pretty warm and I've been staying close to home. I live alone here, with three cats, having been without a dog for over a year. I'm in the process of starting a search for a dog from the shelters around here.

I've decided not to take down Christmas until at least a couple days after Epiphany. 

Well, I think it's time for coffee.