Sunday, December 9, 2018


The last living chicken. Named by our neighbors 3 year-old granddaughter, how could I not share. I broke out laughing at the name and then looking at the chicken. I had heard last weekend that there was only one chicken left now. Harmony ....looks healthy!

Thirty turkey traffic jam leaving their farm. I have tried to capture local turkeys like this in the wild. They are common but tend to run and blend in with the woods by the time I get in position to take a photo. Our neighbor tends to have all the stars aligned when she is out and about with iPhone in hand. Thanks to FhF.


RUSSIAN TEA CAKES   the beginnings

Her is chopping, mixing and baking this past weekend/week. Seven dozen Hermit cookies completed and tested like the ones below left. Nuts on the chop above for another 7 dozen of Russian Tea Cakes early this past week (below right). They, too, were tested for quality control. Several dozen each will be on their way to Texas by week's end. 

Dozens and dozens of chocolate chip cookies for local friends and family will be baked throughout this week too. We will start delivery the week after this posting. There will be lots and lots of constant testing of all Christmas cookies. 


A week of cold weather, no moisture and looking out the kitchen window at barren trees does not fit the winter model in New England. Partially melted snow, snow/ice patches on the driveway and all looks like some kind of transition. It is a holding  pattern, though and offers me nothing. Going outside for any reason is a pissy, moaning moment and I think only for the habit. Easier to piss and moan than find another view. The cold goes through me these years easier and faster. 

The art of keeping a perfect fire in the stove is working. A medium-sized piece of wood, about every hour or so, is an "X" on the smaller piece that has turned to orange coals. Flames immediately and the stove temperature hovers at 450F degrees.

By late morning, the house - to include the office here - is comfortable. Actually have to open a bedroom door or two plus pull the large quilted curtain aside at the office door to act as a heat sink for an overly warm living room.


I have held to my promise, of this past week, to eat most of the frozen soups I have made last month before making any more. Each lunch now is a leftover turkey rice bowl of soup or, my current favorite, beef barley vegetable. 

Beef barley vegetable, plus a slow cooking beef stew, is set for this weekend. Her is gone all day Saturday teaching outdoor classes and then a girls' get together Sunday. This means I have the kitchen to myself and can experiment. My wife will come home to a couple of hot cooked meals waiting for her.  

I get my wantings to make soups from my grandmother. I spend more and more time thinking of those early years visiting on the farm with my grandparents and can still see the pots simmering on the wood stove and the family-style meals served to family and friends. Always friends over for a meal. Always!

All the fixins for any soup or stew was there at the ranch. Soup beef or chicken bones in the broth and any kind of fresh root vegetable. Grandma's pots always had chunklets of flavor adding bones, spice balls and meats. The soup bones of those day had a considerable amount of meat on them. I was always told that meat on the bone had the most flavor. It is true. And nothing was ever thrown away that did not go through some pot or pan on the stove.

I see many recipes of soups and stews on the net today. But the photos are not of the cooking chunklets of those days gone by. Sitting down at my grandmother's meals and dishing up always meant moving around a bone or two to get a helping. And be careful not to eat the small black peppercorns that settle at the bottom of the bowl. I only did that once. 

The very dregs of a beef stew or pot of beef soup went to the dog for dinner. I never ever saw nor heard anyone at the table or the dog complain. Never! There was also fresh, warm bread out of the wood stove oven. To this day, warm bread or rolls out of any oven always trump the main course. Always. Never ever any exceptions.


And I proudly leave you with this. 

Watch and listen to the prayer. Fast forward if you wish from 01:37 to 02:35 and then let your heart remember days of old when the National Anthem was sung before the start of a football game. Also, notice the many many fine young men and women representing this country. God Bless.

Thank you for the visit this week.

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