Friday, October 31, 2008
As soon as Halloween is over and the kids are all home working on making their dentist rich... Me and the hounds will be heading to the cabin. Hope to get some hunting in. I'll update on the weekend next week.
Happy Halloween to everyone.
I'm entering a chili contest today, and of course, I made it for dinner on Wednesday evening as a test run with lots of leftovers to take to the cabin. I'm not expecting to win the contest, but I'll let you know how I did. This is a recipe that is easy to modify for your tastes and is kid friendly. You can halve this recipe to fit into a 3qt. Crock-pot. The original recipe was from Taste of Home, but I've changed it so much, the original recipe is unrecognizeable. This is a fantastic recipe for the cabin, it can be put together in the morning and be ready for a hot dinner after a day of fishing. This is great to eat while putting together a puzzle.
Deluxe Pizza Chili with extra Pepperoni
1 lb. of ground beef
1 lb. of italian sausage (sweet or hot)
2-16oz. cans of kidney beans, drained
2-15oz. cans of pizza sauce
2-14 1/2 oz. cans of Italian stewed tomatoes
2-8oz. cans of tomato sauce
3 cups of water
1-16oz. stick of pepperoni, sliced thickly
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
Brown ground beef and Italian sausage in a large pan, drain. Put drained beef/Italian sausage into 6qt. Crock-pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 3 hours. Serve with shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese and garlic bread. Here are a few other things that can be added to your taste, fresh mushrooms, garlic, black or green olives.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Our front yard
Entrance to our peninsula
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Beef Stew (stovetop) - I double this recipe in an 8qt. stock pot.
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 lb. beef stew meat
2 T. cooking oil
3 1/2 C. vegetable juice cocktail
2 t. beef bouillon granules (I use 2 t. beef soup base)
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried basil, crushed
1/2 t. dried thyme, crushed
2 1/4 C. potatoes, cut-up (I leave the skins on)
2 C. sliced carrots
1 C. sliced celery
Here is where I have to change the directions to be transported 'up north' for cooking.
Put the beef stew meat in a container that can be sealed, put flour into a small plastic bag/seal and put on top of the stew meat. Seal these 2 items together.
In another container, combine onion, garlic, bouillon granules, basil and thyme. Seal this container.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
If you have ever read the book Marley and Me, there are many simularities that it was scary.
As he got older, Caesar turned into a very realiable watch dog, hunting partner and friend. Where ever I was he had to be. In the field I did not have to give him verbal commands. He would stop and look at me and I would simply point the direction I wanted him to go and he would go that direction. The last bird he kicked up was a ring necked pheasant which my friend shot.
Our beloved hunting dog, Caesar. May you Rest in Peace big dog!
We had been wanting to get a female GSP. Denise had been looking on Petfinder.com when she found this white with liver ticking female GSP. She called the Hillsdale County dog pound and inquired about Stella. This was the name they gave her. They told Denise that she had kennel cough but was being treated. Denise kept tract of Stella over the next few weeks. The weekend of Denise's birthday I called the pound and asked about Stella and was told that she was ready to be adopted. I told them I was on my way.
When I arrived at the pound they took me back to the kennel they let me take her out to the play yard. She was not interested in playing, than she started coughing. I advised the worker that I was told she was not sick anymore and wanted to know why she was still coughing. She told me that a volunteer had taken her for a walk and she was not supposed to. Well I could not leave this dog there. She was sick and emaciated, she only weighed maybe 40lbs. I signed the paperwork, loaded her up in the truck and brought her home. She coughed all the way home. We decided to change her name to Cleopatera, after all you cannot have Caesar without Cleopatera.
We did our best to keep Caesar away so he did not get sick. On the following Monday Denise took Cleo to our Vet. Who got upset with us for bringing a sick dog home. He put her on stronger antibiotics and she did very well. I knew she was feeling better when one morning when I had taken her out to go potty at 5:30 a.m. she spotted a rabbit and the chase was on. Cleo chasing the rabbit and me chasing Cleo down the street, around the corner and back through the alley ending back in our yard. I got her inside and as I honestly thought my lungs where coming out of my chest as I informed Denise that she was all better. Cleo since then has been healthy. She is definitely a pack animal and always has to be near you. When we are at the cabin it is squirrels and chipmunks all day and all night. She never wanders off the property and she loves going in the field with me. She is the princess of the cabin.
Cleopatra lounging around at the cabin.
And last but not least, Brittany the PITA (pain in the A**) poodle. Denise got Brit before we started dating. As our realationship grew and I spent more time with Denise, Brit would not leave me alone. I would sit down and she would pester me endlessly. She would not come when you called her and when you tried to corral her it became a game of tag and we always seemed to be it. One time when we were dog sitting Brit the neighbor kids were playing with her and Caesar in the backyard. Than there was knock on the door. It was one of the kids telling me that there was "something coming out of your dogs butt". I went out to investigate and ended up pulling a intact wash cloth out of her backside. I felt like a magician who was doing a very bad trick (look theres nothing up my sleeve). Brit did like eating everything and anything. it was always interesting cleaning up the doggie landmines because you never knew what you were going to find. She loved eating aluminum foil.
When Denise and I bought our house in Wyandotte. I told Denise that Brit should stay with her Mom so her Mom would not be lonely. This strategy worked for several years. When Mom moved to Florida to take care of her parents we got Brit back. She had calmed down but was still crazy. I know it sounds like I didn't like Brit but I did she was good and loving dog just crazy. Mom and me agreed that the breeder saw Denise coming and gave her the brain damaged pup.
Brittany the CRAZY Standard Poodle. She's waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Rest in Peace, Brittany Blaze!
We now have Cleo and having been keeping my brothers dog Louie. He is a Weimaraner, also know as the gray ghost. My brother had a house fire in March and they are still in an apartment so we have been watching Louie since. He loves going up north and loves to swim out in the lake and chase the geese. He comes when you call him and he, like Cleom stays on the property, most of the time.
This last July 4th weekend we were at the cabin and we decided to take the dogs for a walk. We had them on leases. There is a ravine about half way around the lake. We let the dogs off the leases and Louie took off down the ravine. I heard a splash and he was gone. We called and called and could not find him. We started searching with no luck. We asked neighbors if they had seen him, they had not. As it was getting dark we called off the search. I tossed and turned that night worrying about Louie and how I was going to tell my brother and his family that his dog was missing. The next morning I went and asked our neighbor across the lake if I could walk his property. He and another neighbor own a lot of land on the north side of the lake he said yes and gave me a ride around the property. I than took cleo and we went Louie hunting to no avail. I went back to the cabin and we made up fliers. We posted them at the corner store, the gas station and the Elbow Lake bar. After we left the bar I decided we should drive north on Athey Road to look. We asked a couple of people if they had seen him and they had. They said they tried to get him but he would not come to them. We drove up the road a little more and I looked to left and saw these eyes staring at me from the front porch of a house. It was Louie. He was scared of me at first but then realized who I was. The lady of the house came around and said that he laid down and he seemed freindly enough and she figured someone would coming looking for him. We loaded him up and took him back to the cabin. Thankfully he has not done that since.
Friday, October 24, 2008
You can see a smidge of red around the eye on the RHWO on the left. I've got to tell you. When they are juvie's like this...it's like giving keys to a fast sportscar to a 16 year old on their birthday. They are reckless and don't pay attention to what they are doing. Silly birds! :)
This is a terrible photograph of this beautiful painting by Nancy Byrum. When you see it in person, the colors are extraordinary! Do not copy this photograph or any photographs on this blog, thank you.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here is a series of photographs when my husband and his brother replaced our old 'Dry Well' with a new one. The septic guy calls them 'Kitchen Basins' or 'Kitchen Septic'. It does the same thing that our regular septic tank does. Due to the location of our kitchen sink, it does not drain to our regular septic tank for several reasons. 1. It never has. 2. There isn't any way to get the proper pitch or angles that would allow it to drain into our septic tank. We are on a slab, not over a crawl space. 3. The only way that our kitchen sink could feasibly go to our septic, is with a pump under the sink that would pump the 'gray' water up into the attic, pitch down at a steep angle and drain into our septic. Not only is the cost prohibitive, it would require unsightly plumbing and it totally grosses me out to think that if there were ever a leak in the attic, it would drip or worse yet, pour greasy icky water onto my ceilings. If anyone has a better solution without revamping the entire septic system, let me know. This was the only solution that we thought was available. In this first photo, this is the original cast iron angle that comes out past the house and makes a sharp turn toward the dry well. This is 4" cast iron and in excellent shape. My husbands plan was to follow this pipe to whereever it ended.
That hot guy on the right, you know, the pale one??? LOL He is my dear digger husband, Bill. The guy on the left is my brother-in-law. This is where they had dug up the yard to the old 50 gallon drum in the front yard. Just after this pic was taken, they lifted the lid off of the 50 gallon drum which shredded in their hands.
Here is the PVC pipe that was attached to the 4" cast iron. This pipe had drain holes all over it and tree roots and grease had taken up the majority of the pipe. They had to cut the tree roots away from the pipe with an axe. This was the only way to get the pipe out of the ground. Really gross, eh? In the mean time, I had called the septic pumper out and they pumped the old 'dry well' out and also the septic tank.
This was after they removed the old 55 gallon drum and started digging to put in the new 'dry well'. The PVC pipe there is new and does not have drainage holes. My husband did put in a clean out so that it can be pumped and cleaned without digging again. In fact, he said that he would NEVER do this again....in his lifetime. This was really hard work for the 2 of them.
Here is Bill fitting the new 55 gallon drum. The hole would eventually become approx. 6-7ft. deep. There are 1" holes for drainage and is seated on and backfilled with river rock. My husband also put copper rods in the drum to discourage tree roots from entering the drum and PVC drainage pipe. The septic guy also recommended putting a cinder block in the bottom to help prevent frost heave or collapse. The entire thing was covered with hay, a thick layer of topsoil and another layer of hay. Unless someone told you, you would never know what the small hump is in the yard. Having a 'natural' front yard, we have lots of humps and slopes anyway. We were thrilled that we were able to fix the sink problem and also know that we weren't destroying the environment by dumping gray water into the lake.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds.
Pumpkin seeds must be completely dried out in the oven before combining with spices. Whether for cooking or carving, choose an unblemished pumpkin that feels heavy for its size; it will store well, uncarved, at room temperature, for up to a month.
Makes 1 cup
1 medium pumpkin
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Separate flesh from seeds. Pumpkin should yield 1 cup seeds. Spread seeds on an ungreased cookie sheet in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.
In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Since all recipes need some sort of adjustment for my limited cabin kitchen, I omit the cumin, I don't have any. And, I use a full 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. These are a great Fall treat at the cabin.
Let me introduce you to Cleopatra, Queen of the Cabin. She is our German Shorthaired Pointer. Technically, she is a 'bird dog'. But, she is not very 'birdy', good thing or my bird feeders would never get a rest! She prefers 'prey' that is on the ground including Chipmunks, Squirrels, Rabbits. But, she is a FREAK over Chipmunks. Sometimes I call her Chippy Girl. I give her a lot of pet names. She loves to kiss and snuggle up. Bill and I rescued her, and we believe her to be about 8 years old. I'll let Bill tell you more about Cleo and our beloved Caesar, Bill's best friend and hunting companion, who passed on to the Rainbow Bridge last year.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I'm heading up north early tomorrow morning, but I thought I'd share a quick photo of our stone fireplace just after we bought the cabin. The fireplace is SOLID rock, which were split to give you the illusion of identical sides. Most of the stone is granite, some marble and other various fieldstone. The part that you cannot see is the actual arch in the fireplace that I'll show at a later date with pic's that we have after temporarily pulling the insert out to clean and maintain it. The opening in the fireplace itself, is approximately 3-4 ft. deep and about 3 ft. high at the middle of the arch. It has the original custom cast iron floor. This is one HUGE fireplace. The insert is an 'Earth Stove' Heat-O-Lator (sp?). This is our main source of heat in the winter. The 'mantle' portion, if you'd like to call it that, is solid concrete - painted black. It is approximately 3ft. deep. The deer head came with the cabin :) We call him 'Bob'. You can tell by his mount that he was custom sized to fit in this space. I'm not sure how old the curtains were, but they shredded when I tried to wash them, very dry-rotted. My Mom made us new curtains that you will see in future photographs. Every window in the cabin are original 1948, except for the 2 front windows. The windows that you see on either side of the fireplace are original. They are single pane 8 lights made of cedar...yes, I said cedar window's, probably why they have lasted 60 years. They are in need of replacement, but that will happen over time. Anyway, anyone know how to clean the grout between the stones on the fireplace? I'd really like to know!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A trail into the woods.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We contacted the realtor and got a walk through of both cabins. Once again, the blue cabin was very nice but we absolutely had fallen in love with the log cabin. We figured out the finances and put a bid on the red log cabin. The bid was accepted and the cabin was ours.
Over the last four years we have enjoyed our piece of heaven on earth. And we look forward to many more years. We hope that you enjoy reading about our endeavors around the area.