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18 Years

Happy Anniversary to my Farmer. He spent the day combining wheat. Every year I wonder how we ever managed to pull off the wedding during wheat season?? Oh well, maybe next year we’ll spend our anniversary together.

Prayers Needed

I was hoping to post an update by telling you Grandma is back home and everything’s fine…

But I can’t.

Mom’s health has been being neglected by her family ‘doctor’ (Dr. Terri Rheaume) since her fall last May. Since January Mom’s legs have been swelling. Every time Mom calls the clinic (the clinic refuses to see people in person even though every other type of doctor can manage) she is told it’s “just old age”. Well, fast forward a couple of weeks ago and Mom’s legs are now so swollen she can’t fit into her pants and needed to borrow on of my dresses so we could take her to her kidney doctor appointment. She could barely get out of the car!!

Two days later, we get a phone at 4:30 AM, it’s Ella saying Grandma fell in the bathroom and she has the ambulance on the way. Wow that was one fast drive to Beachburg. Thank God Ella was there. She was AMAZING!!!

Mom was very lucky and only fractured her right shoulder when she fell. Somehow she missed the tub and the toilet. Her legs just gave out on her. The hospital was horrified by the size of her legs. In the first 4 days they were able to drain (with medication) 20 lbs!!!!!!! of fluid. Even with that much weight gone, her legs are still huge.

She started doing better at the hospital. Physio and the wonderful nurses were doing a great job to get her back on her feet and walking again. It’s hard since she can’t use her right arm, so that means no walker for now. The hospital has also discovered that she has A-Fib and ‘slight’ heart failure. Stuff you would think your primary care doctor should know about.

So my sister and BIL arranged for Mom to go to the nursing home/retirement home in Beachburg. Everything was fine on Friday when she arrived. Just a little congestion, which is normal for this time of year. Then a cough started. It’s sounds like she’s coughing up a lung. I called the head nurse and spoke with her. We decided to send Mom back to the hospital (the Home’s doctor doesn’t come in until Wednesday). I’m here at home waiting for a call to say the ambulance/bus has arrived and she’s on her way.

Please, everyone, we need your prayers.

Crazy Weather

What’s the weather doing where you are? It can’t seem to make up it’s mind. We got so cold last week that Colin actually lit the furnace again! We’ve got the a/c back on and I’m so very glad because they are already talking 35C/95F with the humidity. My asthma is acting up today, so I’m so very grateful that I don’t have to fight the humidity too.

I’ve got a bit of sewing done. So many of my dresses are getting worn out. Far too worn for going to town.

I had a lot of trouble with this dress. The original top didn’t fit, still not sure how considering it was a custom pattern? So I pulled out my old faithful Folkwear dirndl pattern and changed it to fit the skirt, which was already cut out. I hand inserted the side zipper, which was a first for me.

See these happy, smiling faces?? That’s because our whole family is now ‘half’ vaccinated. It has done a world of good for Ella’s anxiety. Colin and Ella had rather sore arms for a few days (couldn’t lift over their heads without pain/supporting the arm). I was fine. We also had really great people give us the needles. I’ve NEVER had a ‘shot’ that hurt as little as this one.

Now if only we could get some gentle rain in suitable amounts, everything would be great.

Almost Finished…

I’ve been planning this post for a while. Colin had just started planting the wheat. Now I’m happy to say he’s one field away from being done with the soy beans. Colin finished up planting the corn on Sunday.

My Christmas/birthday present finally arrived…

Colin got us central air!! I will finally be comfortable in the summer. I will be able to cook/bake in the summer. And most importantly, I’ll be able to breathe in the summer. My lungs have such a hard time in the heat and humidity.

Elizabeth posted over on her blog the other day about how much she and her Grandma love the month of May. I do too (and not just because it’s my birthday month). Her post got me thinking, where’s our May? Ever since Colin got the wheat in (the end of April) it’s been cold and rainy (except the day we got snow!). It does not look like the middle of May here:

Leaves are starting and my tulips are loving the cooler weather, but the trees are still basically sticks.

Speaking of my birthday, I turned 50 on the 4th. It was quiet since we are in lockdown again.

Spring!

Spring has definitely arrived in Renfrew County. Hopefully it’s here to stay. Facebook has been showing me blizzards from years past. Meanwhile, Colin is talking about starting to plant wheat at the end of the week if it stays dry.

The snow drops and crocuses are finished. The bloomed nice and early. Now we’ve got ‘bluebells’, aka squill. They are really starting to spread nicely. I want the entire yard to be blue in the spring, just like the old houses in Toronto that we pass on the way to church.

So, I did a thing… I let Ella ‘trim’ my hair. Should have been about 3 inches. We started with wrist length hair…

My hair is now waist length! That’s a good 6 inches! Sigh, it feels short! But I will admit my braids look better because they are more or less the same thickness all the way down.

Colin’s been busy with his mobile seed cleaner. Last week he spent 3 days down around Carleton Place cleaning for his big customers. He loves those jobs. They are long days, but it’s large tonnage, good crops, and helpful famers. He’s actually short a few guys down there because their crops weren’t good enough with last year’s drought.

Gotta go and figure out something for supper. I’m still having so much trouble menu planning. Why? I’d really like to know…

Happy Birthday

Look who had a birthday!

Daddy turned 51 on Tuesday. Somehow it ‘snuck up’ on him, but Ella and I remembered. I was going to make stuffed tenderloin, but I couldn’t easily find the tenderloins that I know I have out in the deep freeze. I pulled a pork sirloin roast out instead. Sirloin is a weird cut I’ve never seen before. It didn’t have much marble so I headed off to Pinterest to find a way to cook it. I’m glad I did. Even Ella said it was really good, and she’s gotten really picky about pork lately. Here’s the recipe. My roast was just over 4 lbs so I cooked it for longer. So good! In fact, so good I didn’t get a picture – ha ha!!

Colin and Ella have been having a hard time getting through a whole cake before it gets fuzzy. I’ve been making lots of squares since Christmas and that seems to make them happy. I made brownies for Colin’s birthday. And since it’s his birthday I splurged and put icing on. I don’t think brownies need icing. These brownies are Ella safe and work well if you switch the flour for Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour. I think the recipe comes from Elizabeth, but I didn’t write it down so now I’ve forgotten.

Brownies

1 1/3 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp bk. powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and pour into a greased 8×8″ pan. Bake 350F for 20 min.

These dinner rolls were made by Colin’s Grandma Fletcher. Now be warned, I think these are weird as a ‘dinner roll’ because at the end they get glazed with sugar! But it’s not a Fletcher family gathering without these rolls. Ella loves them, so I often have a bag full in the freezer. They make good snacking. I’ve cut the recipe down a little bit so that it fits in my bread machine easier. If you do this in the bread machine you MUST babysit it until it’s done mixing. Of course, you can also do this the old fashioned way, with a bowl.

This method I’m going to show you is the way I do most of my bread doughs. It comes from the book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It’s a bit faster and I think it turns out a little nicer. It’s a sponge method where you let the yeast do it’s thing for a while before adding everything else.

In your bread machine pan, add the following and mix till combined (I just use a spatula).

3 3/4 cup water

3 cups flour

4 1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp sugar

Let this sit for 30 min.

Add the rest of your ingredients:

1/2 cup lard, melted and cooled

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cup flour

Start your ‘dough’ cycle and watch the consistency.

Just about done kneading. Now here’s where this method saves time. You don’t have to let the dough rise. You take the dough and shape it as you wish. If you are using this method to make Grandma’s dinner rolls, cut the dough into 96 little balls (4 dozen rolls) and drop them into greased muffin tins. Let them rise somewhere warm for 30-60 min.

As you can see, this day I got tired of rolling out balls. I made 3 dozen rolls and a pan of sticky buns. Ella loves sticky buns too. If you want to make the sticky buns, just roll out 1/4 of the dough. I make it 12 inches wide by however long it will go. Then all you have to do is spread it with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. That easy, no measurements needed. Then roll up the short end and cut into 12 -fits my 9×9″ pan.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 min, the sticky buns might take a few more minutes. Turn out of the pans as soon as they are done. Of course, the sticky buns need turned out over a plate.

Mix 2 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp icing sugar. When the buns are cool, wash the tops with the glaze. They freeze well if you can keep the vultures out of them long enough.

Bread Machine Bread

As you probably know, I make all my bread dough in the bread machine. It’s faster and easier on my wrists. This is a basic bread machine recipe from my King Arthur cook book. It makes just one loaf, which is handy if you need to make some garlic/cinnamon pull apart buns.

Bread machines are so easy. Just add all the wet ingredients first. Then add the dry ingredients, adding the flour and yeast last.

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup powdered milk

4 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup potato flakes

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

2 tsp yeast

Start the dough cycle. I always stand by and make sure it mixes correctly. I often need to add more water. You want the dough to be as soft as possible without being too soft and sticky. That’s what keeps your bread nice.

I let the dough rise in the machine since it’s nice and warm. I take it out before it starts the ‘second rise’ cycle. Shape your dough into whatever you are making and put it somewhere warm to rise. Usually about 30 minutes, sometimes more. I use the oven. If I turn on the oven and just wait till the gas lights, then shut it off, it’s the perfect temperature for rising.

For the pull buns or just a loaf of bread I bake this at 350F for 30 min, or until done. If you are using an angel cake pan for the pull buns, do yourself a favour and make sure you have something under the pan or else the butter/butter and sugar is going to get messy. And nothing sets off the smoke detector faster than burnt sugar.

Winter in the Valley

Well, it’s definitely winter now! We’ve had a few -25C (-13F) mornings, including today. We’ve also had more snow. We got a couple of inches yesterday even though the radar map didn’t show any?? What’s really weird this year is how light and fluffy all our snows have been (except for one). Usually our snow is heavy and wet and dangerous for roofs. Not that I’m complaining, I’m glad Colin hasn’t had to climb many roofs this winter.

This old house always looks good in the winter. I’m trying some different filters. The pictures never look like what my eyes see. This filter is called ‘antique’.

Too bad you can’t feel how crisp the air is and how different it sounds.

Last night after the snow stopped the fog rolled it. It’s really weird to get fog in February. But with the crazy cold this morning, it covered everything in frost. So beautiful.

No complaints about snow now. We got about 5 inches of absolute fluff Saturday night. Colin spent most of Sunday morning moving it everywhere. At least it has finally warmed up. A number of days last week were -25°C! That’s a bit chilly, glad Colin doesn’t have to work in that anymore. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight/tomorrow.

What’s on the menu?

Monday: fish and chips in the air fryer

Tuesday: tv dinners

Wednesday: boeuf Bourguignon from the freezer

Thursday: ribs – I used my BBQ recipe but in the oven, it worked well

Friday: leftover ribs

Saturday: bacon and eggs

Sunday: chicken cordon bleu – nothing fancy, just the President’s Choice frozen stuffed chicken, but it is great in the air fryer

More ideas at I’m An Organizing Junkie