Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Quick Update, Then Christmas

Thought I had forgotten you? No, just not able to keep up with everything. Pushed and pushed to get the house ready enough to bring in a realtor and at the same time get ready for Christmas. We failed on both accounts. We weren't fully ready for the realtor or Christmas. We did interview over the phone some realtor companies that come to our town, most don't. Then when the realtor we had chosen came to the house and later brought back what she thought we should sell our house for, we had a bad feeling about it. As we contemplated that feeling we realized we need to finish projects on the house but wait to put our home on the market. You know what restraint that takes? Your impulse is to hurry and sell and that is the advice you get but hurry might not get us the price we need.

At least I've done the research to know what each of the realtor companies offer and at what price. Let me just say the majority of the realtors are waiting for the buyer to fall into their lap and will admit if pressed that many of the things they do aren't effective - like open houses, they just do them anyway. How does that make sense?

Meanwhile this coming week we are meeting with the family that owns the home we wish to buy and hopefully settle one way or another on some concerns. Don't know what the Lord has in mind but we feel peaceful on that front. How we will pay for that place if our house sells for a dime like the realtor advised us to market ours for is beyond me and naturally panic settles in over that thought. (Houses just haven't sold in our area for the past year unless they were listed for dirt cheap.) It takes a mighty shove to push that aside and say "Thy will be done Lord" and search for his still small voice. With faith it all will work out.

We do have a large amount of things to sell or move. So maybe that is what we need to do first before putting our home on the market. That requires that we have a place to move to so we know first of all what we will need there. We have a forging shop and a storage shed and a semi-trailer Kirk was going to turn into a shop but presently holds lots of storage from our home. We have a little pile of scrap metal we use on projects like the front porch and, and, and all neatly stacked but maybe folks couldn't imagine the place with it gone.

There is all the things at the corrals too that need to go or be sold. We have our work cut out for us and it will all take time. Maybe the first step is indeed a place to move to and then we can shift to what is going and what is staying and putting it up for sale with its removal before selling our home. Just Lord please make it before I have two lawns to mow and a garden to deal with. The lawn at the other home is HUGE. That will have to eventually change. 
As for Christmas, it was none stop go, go, go. We had all four little girls for two days and then asked that the little one be picked up on Thursday.
  I must admit guilt pangs wracked me off and on Thursday evening after the one year old ran to the far corner of the living room and yelled NO!! when her dad asked her if she was ready to go home. She had so much fun and experienced new things at every turn, one can hardly blame her for not wanting to leave. But she came on Tuesday and left on Thursday, I'd say that was pretty long for a one year old. This is a very needy child who demands human interaction almost constantly. This grandma had only an hour or two worth of sleep Tuesday night and not much on Wednesday night either because of her constant tossing and turning in the Play and Pack by my bed or part of the nights I was sandwich between her and her four year old sister being kicked and punched. If sleep didn't come and soon I'd not be walking come Friday. Addison's disease does that to you. 

On Tuesday Toni read " The Gingerbears' First Christmas" and we made tiny ginger bread men for Santa's elves, The Prep and Landing crew. If you haven't watched those shows you should. They are really cute and our four year old became a big fan. We made ginger bears for Santa and of course peeled carrots for the reindeer. When the food disappeared off the plate we set out Christmas Eve for Santa and his crew, each child in turn declared it was cemented proof that Santa does indeed exist. On Christmas Eve we kept the computer tuned to NORAD so the kids could pop in and out of the room to see Santa's progress something I've not done before

Meanwhile, the two older girls popped in and out of the basement pushing the handle back and forth on the old bulky knitting machine creating a scarf for themselves. The machine has no electronics  and is very similar to the wood ones made and used in cabins in the pioneer era. Knowledege, time, and the feeling of artistic creation being one of the gifts I wished to give them this year. I later crocheted frills on the ends and will begin blocking them today, along with the one I whipped up for the four year old. 

The marshmallow popcorn didn't taste quite right being made like Rice Crispi bars. I couldn't find my old recipe but I'm sure it had a touch of Karo syrup in it. Still it was fun.

The six year old received a sewing machine from her parents for Christmas on Monday being she is into fashion and our oldest daughter helped her sew two draw string bags. Her first sewing experience. She did very well.

 The kids played in the snow for two days. The youngest had the most bewildered look on her face as we dressed her up in snow pants, mittens, hat and snow boots. Or attempted to put snow boots on her. She has such thick ankles you can't get her feet in and without the liners the boots fell right off. We settled on high top tennis shoes. 

Bundled to the waddling stage, she became a one year old dare devil. The kids don't go out in the snow at home but live in it here so this was this tykes first experience with the cold white stuff. She flopped all over in the snow and the faster the better when sliding down the hill. The problem being she flew off the sled if the speed wasn't controlled. We attached a length of baling twine to the saucer and slowed her decent to solve that problem.
 On Christmas our oldest daughter (their aunt) and the girls dug deep into the costume boxes and clothes flew everywhere as they whipped them off and on with frequent costume changes while acting out the story leading up to Jesus Christ's birth. 

 The shepperds weren't exactly Scottish I know but our oldest daughter insisted on wearing the Touring caps. Her reasoning, "They would have been there had they known." We ran out of sheep so a llama attending this non traditional scene. 

She also decided that one of the wise men must have been a businessman too and donned a vest and this hat on our four year old.

We had to repeat the part of Samuel the Lamanite high on the city wall, (aka, the bench), calling the people to repentance and prophesying of Jesus birth. The older girls kept hitting Samuel, with the wadded up paper balls or rather our four year old while peels of laughter rang out. They were completely rewriting scripture for the  Lord protects Samuel from the stones and arrows slung by the angry crowd. 

When Kirk got home on Friday he showed the kids a neat trick with a pomegranate. You cut it in half and tap all around the outside and the seeds fall out. He also drilled into a coconut so the kids could drink the liquid before cutting it in half to scoop out the insides. Adventure abounds within these walls. LOL Now I have to figure out what to do with it. I found out a carrot peeler does nicely to take off the brown outer layer left when the inside comes out but the taste is very bland with the one we have.....hmm..... 

Yes, indeed we had fun this past four days with the kiddos and now they are off to their dad's and today I'm refusing to get out of bed until noon or near unto it. I'll just write, read, and play the bum for I'm plum done in with demands. I hit the stage of my Autism where I'm so over stimulated I've hate everyone and everything. I'm smart enough to know it is just an emotional reaction. Oh how I hate emotional reactions. See, I hate everything. Though to be fair I dislike emotional reactions on any day. 

Emotions are such liars and too often deceive one into journeying down the wrong path where reason is not one of the companions. I try my best to not act upon my hateful emotions knowing they are imposters and to lessen the chance of a bite in my voice, I keep as much to myself as possible until the feelings pass. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year as I am.

Friday, December 13, 2013

French Toast Sandwiches

And while I'm cooking up a storm for Kirk's next work shifts I made French toast sandwiches or dessert or whatever you want to call them. I sliced sourdough bread and set it aside while I mixed a little powdered sugar in cream cheese to slightly sweeten it but you wouldn't have to. I whipped four eggs in a bowl with a touch of milk. My cooking is not detailed because my ingredients vary. Two of the eggs were ginormous from the two, two year old hens keeping John Henry, the rooster, company and  the other two were two pullet eggs so how do you measure that? It is like the watery pumpkin I'm going to use today for pumpkin bars. I'm thinking I'll get out some sugar pie pumpkin puree also to mix with the Cinderella pumpkin puree so it is thicker and then strain the whole thing for a while to drain off some liquid.

Anyway, I got off track there. I spread the sweetened cream cheese on one slice of bread and smoothed some low sugar blueberry jam on the other slice of bread placing them on top of each other to form a sandwich. Then cutting the sandwich in half I soaked it in the French toast egg mixture flipping sides as the egg saturated the bread. The next step is to toast them as you would French toast. After cooked, I sprinkled powdered sugar on top. 
Hind thought makes me think that my usual adding of vanilla and cinnamon into the egg mixture would have been good in this situation too. You could also change up the type of jam you used. Blueberry was just handy at the moment. I'm also thinking I'll cut the sandwiches into wedges instead of just across, more visually appealing that way. 
We put the computer desk back to the way it was since our four year old no longer is pushing off and on the computer. Yes, we have a one year old but she isn't here as often and we do need to put the house up for sell. When we moved it we first took a photo of the backside so we knew just how to hook it up again. Not that I haven't done it without but we are practicing for when we move and we are photographing everything electrical to save hassle.     

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cold Weather and Setting the Stage to Sell

Warmer weather is on its way. We can breathe through our mouths once more. Think this is a small thing. How miserable are you when you have a cold? Yes, the lips dry out and your throat is always dry and you really begin to appreciate the workings of your nasal passages. It is disconcerting in the single digits when the cold is accompanied by 30 mile an hour wind chilling blasts and you suck in air to have your nostrils seal shut. My sympathy has gone out to the poor critters shivering in the cold. "Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful"

Why the goats are particularly bad about this shivering I don't know but they "shiver in the cold let us bring them silver and gold" (Hush!! brain, your interfering with my thoughts.) they do shiver far worse than the other animals we've raised like horses, beef, sheep, pigs, chickens. Come to think of it, I've never seen a chicken shiver. Hunch down and become as small as possible yes, but shiver - no.
Despite Kirk screwing a piece of plywood across 3/4 of the narrow doorway into the goat shed and all but the roof being insulated, the does spend a great deal of time shivering. Anyone know why goats and not the other animals and do and why Christmas carols keep creeping into my thoughts? Does this happen to you?

What I was thinking when I was interrupted by music playing loudly in my head was that the warm weather, 20's and 30's brings with it the need to clean sheds and it will be nice to not see the goats shivering. It bothers my sympathetic side.

I don't know about you but I'm seeing the days of December fly by while my finger tips and face feel like they are freezing off. I'm panicking here. Hence, last nights late night shopping on the web. Today I need to regroup and figure out what I don't have and what needs made before the day arrives despite not really knowing when that day is. My daughter talked about doing their Christmas in pieces. The 23rd being Christmas dinner and opening all gifts that aren't from the big man in the red suit. He of course delivers on Christmas Eve and they will open those Christmas morning possibly before she has to be to work at 6. My hubby on the other hand works most of Christmas week away from home along with our son so not a clue what we are doing.

All Kirk and I really want for Christmas is a new place to live. The deal on the house we made seems to be coming unraveled. If it is going to do so I hope it is quick so we can get back on the market shopping. Not that I haven't been looking still. All this stress and it is no wonder we have lived in this house for 32 years.What will we do when we have ours on the market too?

We felt great peace when we bid on the place, despite reservations. From experience I know that can mean two things. All these second thoughts and problems we are having now are just the devil at work and it will work out in the end. The other is that lessons needed learned by us working on this deal and indeed it will go completely south but the experience will give us wisdom and put us in a better position for what we need to do later if we will let it.

Patience is not a virtue I have mastered. I like things spelled out and done. Autistic people like myself can't figure out social games especially when that Autistic person is very very analytically minded like myself. Think Temperance on the show Bones, that is pretty much me. Not quite so verbally blunt and not a genius IQ but I'll guarantee you that those extremely blatant thoughts are roaming upstairs though they don't always make it out the door.

 My husband calls me narrow minded. Like the other day when my thoughts did indeed go outside and I said woman look ridiculous in high high heels because they walk so awkward. Why would a self respecting woman wear them when they not only look silly but the shoes damage their bodies?  That one instance when he called me narrow minded. I just can't understand what is narrow minded about it. My view is logical - fashion often is not logical. Why people allow others to dictate what they wear is beyond me especially when they dictate you should look silly. See, Bones at work here. 

By the way, my daughter has heard men comment pretty much in the same manner as I just did. A recent study has found that Autistic women are more malish mentally. Which is why I often feel more comfortable around men than women. Which leads to another logical thought, I wish these scientist would just ask highly functioning Autistic people like me because we could save them a fortune on research costs. We could have also told them that we avoid social situations because we feel emotions too intently and can't deal with them at that level so we have to shut ourselves off from the world or completely fall to pieces. 

This self preserving shut down is why it appears we don't care  - another study costing a fortune to come up with something many of us already knew. See why I connect with the character Bones? Watching her makes me feel not so alone. That and talking to our oldest which isn't Autistic like myself but has tendencies toward the behavior.

Just give me a clear cut path to start with on this house deal and I can make adjustments but please make them detailed. I'm not my mom and I can't fill in the blanks as I please. I never understood my mom but then she made up a fictitious character which I gave up years and years ago trying to convince wasn't me so she never understood me either. The fictitious character was probably nicer so who can blame her. 

I LOVE details which is why I love James Bama paintings. (See I am ADD brained) the most memorable to me being the old man in front of the split firewood. I seem to remember a spider on the logs and I know there was a safety pin holding up one of his bib overall straps. Detail is also why I love the children's books by Jan Brett. Well, that and the Scandinavian slant.

Enough about houses but oh wait. I said I'd show you some of the things we have done. Okay here goes. 

The new bathroom. It now needs pictures.

See the difference a couple photos made to the other bathroom we renovated a few years ago. It really classed it up. 

Kind of like how they turned out but wish I could have cropped the photos instead of the printer shop doing so. You may have noticed our house is done in a variety of woods, hickory in the kitchen, oak in the master bath, and mahogany in the main bathroom.We LOVE wood and in the spirit of the early 1800's where each room of the house was done in a different wood, I followed suite and am pleased with the results. The house still flows from one room to the other and it adds interest.

I need to move the wooden antique bee catcher down, it is hanging on a nail that was already in the wall, but I kind of like how this trio turned out.

  I'm adding and changing photos around the house to stage it for the home sale market. I know things are decorated a bit different than most homes because well, face it, I'm not the norm but hopefully it will be memorable in a good way. So far most people who stop by comment on how beautiful the house looks but then what are they going to say, "It looks ugly" probably not. I'm just taking encouragement from the positive inflections of their voices.
 And though we are too busy to put up a tree because first of all we'd have to travel over an hour east to buy a decent tree, a directions we have no other excuse to go, so I have added some touches of Christmas around the house and that will have to do. Like here at the base of my bed where I added gold snowflake garland, greenery, and sheep with wooly backs I made years ago with clothes pin bodies, leather ears, and hand spun wooly bodies.  

Next year we will plan on a tree since we will be near the mountains and can make a fun snowshoeing day of cutting our own. A Charlie Brown one it might be but at least it will be real. I have this thing about real trees. Our son once came home with a tree he had freshly cut and it actually began growing new needles. Yes, he had left it up for a long time but hey, he liked it, and why not leave it up as it brought enjoyment to him and he's single.
 Our oldest true to tradition found another figurine for my village. I love the round hale bale.  She knows the barn scene is my favorite part of the whole village scene- go figure. LOL
 I wasn't ever someone who played with doll houses but then they didn't have a barn and a forging shop either. Somehow, for me, putting up this three tiered village tops decorating the tree in favorite things to do for Christmas. I'm thinking of leaving it up for January. It took me years and years to collect all these pieces. I'd look for specific things each year like a windmill for the barnyard which took me several years to find and an outhouse too. Got to have an outhouse on an old farm. I'm talking from experience here. 

 My style of decorating for Christmas isn't air filled Santas or flashy lights but subtle touches around the house. This is something new I added this year, a bow made of curled metal, bells, and greenery for the two floor lamps in the livingroom.

There is something about Norman Rockwell that just makes me smile. This book was Kirk's moms and it speaks of simpler and less commercial Christmas's past. If you stop by around the holidays beware when you step inside our home, it might just feel a bit like you have been thrown back in time.This and the nativity scenes around the house remind me just what the reason for the Christmas season is all about.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Random Thought and Discoveries.

Found photos of cow moose being used as beasts of burden - really old photos. Now that is ingenuity. A friend of mine has a pet deer. No, he didn't raise it. It just started coming for the food he put out for the turkeys. Then it would hang around when he would grill meat on his back porch. Eventually it would bed down while he cooked and he got so he could scratch it behind the ears and it wouldn't even rise from its laying position. One day he went in the back door to get some beef pellet feed for it and it came right on in the house after him. Being smart he moseyed out another exit and the deer eventually left too. 

 So if a deer can become semi-tame then why not a trained moose? Note that I said semi-tame.  I saw pictures of a team of them pulling a buggy, a young one pulling a travois in front of a teepee, and a single cow moose pulling a cart with a women driver. I would never have thought of such a feat but why not? I guess they eat less than a horse, are stronger, faster, but they said they overheat more quickly. This might limit them to winter time and of course they were female. One doesn't foolishly mix male testosterone, large horns, and think they are going to accomplish anything. I came across a reference to a, I think, Swedish king who tried an experiment of a moose trained cavalry. The solders thought it unmanly to be mounted on girls and moose are not easy to train so that eliminates a number of riders. Wish I could find again the site I read this in. 
As for pictures, copying and pasting can get one into trouble. 

What started all this searching into moose, a false facebook post about a man training a moose to pull logs. Very believable but none the less false. I've been doing only a little hopping around on the Internet beyond scouting out houses to look at and this diversion was a welcome break. My computer would let me look at houses but not at my own blog grrr.....  It has taken several days off and on work to get it up and running correctly again, I hope correctly. Yes, frustration at its height. 

Not that I've been doing exciting things to share other than ordering deer fence in the winter. Yes, I found some that was on clearance, plus 15 percent off, plus free shipping. My Fed-Ex carrier was totally baffled at the rather light but very long package. But he just laughed when I told him of my deal. I wasn't planning on buying but how can one pass that up? I found it because I was researching how to keep deer out of the garden, the huge one I want to grow, white-tail specifically since they are everywhere by the house we are in the process of buying. The very beginning process of buying. So I won't tell you all about it until we are further down the road. We have some hurdles to clear first. 

But anyway there are tons of wild life all around, deer, elk, turkeys and the like. Plus with a creek running below us there is a really good chance racoons are also lurking nearby. Those little beggars know exactly when the corn is ripe. I'd rather not depend on them telling me so I thought I'd get a leap on laying out the garden, the present owner's is small compared to what I want. They do have raspberries and strawberries - bless them. I learned that white-tail deer can jump 12 ft. The fence is 7 1/2 feet with a half foot staked along the ground, not high enough. I also learned that deer will jump up but don't like the coming down part so the full 12ft isn't needed. So to make up for a shorter fence I can add width. If the top of the fence is angled at a 45 degree that counts as width or double fencing works great too. I'm thinking of putting two chicken runs along part of the perimeter. 

The garden fence will save me on fencing on one side of the runs and I'm hoping the narrow space of 3 or 4 feet will keep hawks from wanting to dive inside for a tasty chicken dinner. Our present neighbor at the corrals has chickens that clear a high fence so I'm thinking high is also important for them too. I'll need two runs for the year we have pullets and hens for a short while. The rest of the fence configuration I'm not real clear on yet. 

I've vowed that this year my garden will be planned, really planned but I've said that before. I do plan on a permanent garden where their present garden sits. It already has two strawberry beds, and a raspberry bed so I thought I'd add asparagus and lots of grapes with a herb garden section. Then attached to it I'll add another larger garden for corn, squash, beans etc. I looked into gardens incorporating chicken coops but the gardens were just too small. One half the garden one year was the run and the other half the next year became the run. Great for long growing seasons but this place is next to the foothills of the mountains in Wyoming so a long growing season it does not have. 

While I'm dreaming of gardening a new seed catalog appeared. My mind just happened to be thinking about just how wonderful that dried and powered pepper combination I made the summer before last has been in cooking. It was an experiment into making my own chili powder. I LOVE it!! I have some bell pepper, some pepperoni peppers, and I'm thinking some really mild jalapeno peppers in the mix. At times like this I really wish I'd keep some better records of the things I do. I'm going to have to search my blog posts to see if I can find out what I did. The dried onion tops that didn't make full onions are a nice addition to the kitchen too especially when I don't have a fresh onion. Last year we had fresh onions most of the year with the ones in storage but the hail killed the entire garden in August this year.

Kirk and I are getting so we really dislike going to the store. We just do without half the time or substitute. I'm thinking with the much higher cost of housing in the area we are moving to that that is a good thing as money will be tight until we can pay the place off, plus the house we are trying to buy is in the toolies, as in the boonedocks, or the way north forties. You know, a long way from town. Jotting off to the store for something just isn't going to happen.

Anyway, in this catalog we found pimento peppers and paprika peppers. I'm thinking, no surprise there, that since seeds last two years that I can start a pepper rotation. Chili powder peppers one year with green bell peppers, and the next pimento peppers with paprika peppers and bell peppers. You've always got to have bell peppers or rather I do. Peppers have flowers with the male and female parts and don't need insects, or wind to pollinate them but they do have an off chance of crossing so I might have an area in the permanent garden for just such rotation crops to help space things from each other. 

Anyone with experience from up north that has grown paprika or pimento peppers. I'd like advice on varieties and growing tips.

Sorry no photos but I promise next week to start showing you some of our areas we have been working on. This getting ready to sell is about to drive us insane. We vow to never let so many things slide again. This amount of work to get ready is ridiculous.

Finishing up a long day of cooking to send with hubby and so not much else got done. Breakfast burritos and sourdough English muffins with egg, cheese, and ham in between the bread for breakfasts. Meatsa pizza made on Ciabatta bread. Ciabatta rolls with ham sandwiches and soup for lunch. Salisbury steak with brown and wild rice and broccoli. Chicken cor don bleu with corn and I don't know what yet. Burritos with black beans and rice. 

Yes, double or triple use is my theme. The Ciabatta bread for rolls and pizza crust.  The sausage and bacon for the pizza, this morning's omelet, and the breakfast burritos. The rice for the burritos and the side dish for the Salisbury steak. The tortilla shells, plain ones this time, for the breakfast burritos and the regular burritos. One has to save energy when one has so little of it these days. That is it for meals for the next few day. More than plenty I'd think and that means my meals are made also.  I do have to keep cooking though because the dreaded three one three is coming up next. Work three days and one day off and work three days. A killer to pre-cook for.

 It is up really early in the morning to go meet the grand kids and travel a couple hours to see Frozen, the new kid's movie. The mine has a free Christmas movie for the kids every year and since Kirk transferred hours away to a new mine, we have to travel to the movie theater nearest that mine. Not handy but we are doing so little this year for Christmas, we are keeping this tradition. 

Kirk is working four days all through Christmas week and will therefor be gone. Our daughter is working and I think our son is scheduled also to work. Not sure we will even put up a tree though I did put up some of the other decorations. All this remodeling, and running to look at houses, bidding on a house, and Kirk running back and forth to work has dampened the desire to do much for Christmas. The thought just seems exhausting.  I'm thinking maybe our oldest daughter, who will be home, might enjoy relaxing and cooking up some goodies during Christmas to deliver to friends. It will after all be the last Christmas here. We have lived in this home 32 years but I'm more than ready for a new adventure.