Sunday, December 3, 2017


Sugar Shack that has seen better days. Folks made maple syrup here a time ago.

An old barn, nestled next to one of our local roads, that has all but collapsed.
Maybe the history for the owner is more important than a complete tear down and renewal?



I picked up the camera this past week, hopped in the truck and took off to find something of interest close by. Often is not necessary to look very far for things worthy to photograph or write about. Our backyards are full of life and sharing / story telling that just might feed the restlessness inside of me. Readers may also enjoy some change here. Hell, there may even be a point at the end of these blogs to boot. 

I found the lower photo above over a month ago. Happened on a local "townie" we met years ago but our paths had not crossed in quite awhile. I was out driving back roads when I came across her and her dog working in the yard. We chatted while and her dog seemed nervous at someone new on the dirt road near their home. I told her I was out looking for things to photograph. As I was leaving, the bottom photo (above) passed by my driver's door. I did not get out because of her dog's discomfort with my presence but the old building grabbed me. I have a big fondness for photo stories like these. 

Our paths crossed again last weekend at the dump and we chatted. She said I could come by anytime and photograph all I wanted. She also mentioned that there was an old sugar shack further down the narrowing country road. "You might like that to photograph" she said.

How right she was. The sugar shack above was textbook perfect for some history and local color through photography. I love the photo.



Her was out with the girls teaching classes yesterday which left me home alone and to my own devices. I had the kitchen to myself and a plan. Chex Mix, which I can over dose on, but have never made. Check.

Peanut butter cookies which we both love, but never take the time to make. How hard can it be? Check.

A whole bucket of pre-mixed chocolate chip cookies from a local chain store cooler. No reason to ever have to mix these at home any more. Check.

Dutch oven-braised beef spare ribs in a red wine sauce. Pioneer Woman recipe. Ree Drummond is my favorite chef.  For dinner tonight. Check.

BUT it is peanut butter cookies I want to talk about. 

I tried three different recipes under the delusion that peanut butter was peanut butter and the thinking that most all recipes were similar in content and all would yield a wonderful cookie. 

Son's finance says that she always uses Crisco in making PB cookies because the cookies taste so much better. I agree, now and have a hint of memory of others saying that Crisco in some baking is better than butter. 

Peanut butter is not peanut butter. I believe that some brands are better than others, or maybe the jar that has been sitting on the storage shelf for a year has lost it flavor on the bedpost overnight. 

In the photo above, which is the best peanut butter cookie? And you would be right!

Here is the recipe I found in a fogged overlay from the net. Some sites want you to become a member of their "family" before they will share anything. Silly folks. 

1/2 cup of Crisco
3/4 cup of Jiff peanut butter (creamy)
1 1/4 cup of light brown sugar packed
3 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla ( I used some gifted vanilla from down south)
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup of flour. I will use a little less next time; maybe 1 1/2 cup.
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

I mixed all dry ingredients hand-stirred them; then all ingredients into a mixer for about a minute or two. Let it cool overnight in the fridge because it was the end of the day and I was tired of cooking. 

First cup of coffee this morning, third recipe and 40 cookies later, this is the cookie we were looking for.

And just now before posting, I pulled down Mom's hand-me-down Betty Crocker Cook Book and found what I was looking for on page 206. It appears that Betty Crocker is the heart and soul of most all internet peanut butter cookie recipes. The reason to use less flour from the recipe above is that in the olden days,  flour was sifted onto a sheet of wax paper and then added per recipe requirements. Flour packed into measuring cups directly from the flour bin tends to be more that what it is; ie., a cup of bin flour is more than a cup of sifted flour. 

Regardless, we have our cookie recipe now that works and will tweak it some in the cookie making season ahead.

I think all any of us really need is a couple old hand me down cook books that have history smudges on some of the pages. The good old days are called the good old days for a reason.   



"...don't know if we can blame the dogs in this case."

Third time a dog has discharged a gun in that area? Seriously?

If ya gotta tell a hunter to "safe" his/her gun, then might that hunter seriously re-think hunting as a sport. Maybe golf, dominoes or a yo-yo. 



..and snow is officially forecast for next weekend. Her will start her cookie baking for family and friends after breakfast this morning. The wood stove finds the dog on the hearth behind it and the cat is still in her heated bed in the garage. 

Seek the spirit early this season. The shortest day of the year is on a close horizon and we head into spring before we are really even ready for winter.

Here in middle New England, we have three months to do, like it or not. But that the days will be getting longer by one to two minutes per day heading into the new year adds up. 

Thanks for the visit this week and go make some cookies!! 


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