Featured

Welcome to The Clampetts!

Introduction

First blog postKarlaRetirementParty

Hi All!

Here it is fresh off the press, my very first blog.

Let me tell you a little bit about us.  Our name is not really Clampetts but we sort of resemble the Clampetts prior to them striking oil!

My name is Karla and my husband of 13 years’ name is Brian.  We live on at the end of a narrow, dirt road, in a small village, in a small county in the small state of New Hampshire.  I am just recently retired; hence the picture above with the huge corsage!

This blog will be about living off the grid completely and our trials and tribulations of every day living once retired and living in a small, rural area.  It ain’t always easy!  For example, the time I made a custard and the oven kept blinking at me and B was away on a business trip.  Why was the oven blinking?  Would the custard cook?  Well, of course the oven was blinking, it wasn’t getting enough power!  I did not have the appropriate inverter on!  We have 2 inverters that converts DC (battery) current to AC (house) current.  I obviously had a lot to learn. . .

One of the newest additions to our off the grid living and something that makes me very happy, and we hope will make life a little easier, is a propane generator and a new 500 gallon propane tank.  Now the generator comes on automatically when our power begins to lessen.  Since this is a new installation (and not a cheap one either I might add), it still needs tweaking; that would be B’s job.  So far it is working well.  Previously, we used a gasoline fed generator, and required some manual tweaking that was always difficult for me.  I am not mechanically inclined and the generator required a lot of pulling and usually accompanied by some cussing to even start it.  I am not good at jumping up and down while pulling the cord as well as B is!

We live a pretty ordinary life and if you were to visit, you would not necessarily even realize we are off the grid.  However, we do have a few quirky things by today’s standards.  We have a special small refrigerator that requires manual defrosting (yuck) and is deep but short, causing the food that gets pushed way back to freeze.  Have you ever tried reviving frozen celery?  It doesn’t work well.  And our gas powered oven also requires manual cleaning (double yuck, as I cook a lot).  However, my husband has every power tool known to man and uses them frequently.  We have a regular washing machine, but I prefer to hang my clothes out to dry during the summer months, and I use wooden clothes racks in the winter set up near the wood stove to dry most of our clothes.  Why not use the sun and the wood stove to dry one’s clothes???  We do own a dryer but it is at my in-law’s who live a mile from us and live on the grid.

I am also very interested in homesteading, for lack of a better word.  I believe in eating local, either growing my own food or buying local food and meat.  We have raised pigs in the past as well as ducks, chickens, and, if lucky,  B brings home venison – in season,  of course!  I am fortunate to live in an area where I can easily buy any of these items, should I run low on my own food.  By the way, we do have 2 freezers living off the grid.  See?  You would never know we do so.

I hope you like my new blog!  Please feel free to make any comments you care to make.  Well, only positive comments of course!  Ha, ha.

Karla

An Anniversary, Some Rain, Company and Sunshine – January 26, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Somehow, my Friday post never got written, so it has been days since my last post.  Anyway, I’ll bring you up on the latest.

Thursday we did, indeed, attend the Plainfield Senior Luncheon, which we enjoyed.  Afterward, B had an errand in Plainfield: viewing items from an upcoming auction on Saturday.  We ended up spending almost 2 hours at the auction house!  Unfortunately, they didn’t have much in the way of things that interested me so I had to amuse myself the best way I could.

After that, B had a couple of errands to do in Claremont, so I rode along.  By the time we got home, I had to scramble to get the critters fresh water before the auto door on the chicken coop closed.  The girls had gone to bed anyway!

Friday was dark and dreary.  I had cooking to do for company on Saturday.  We decided Jeff and Suzanne should come for lunch instead of dinner (same menu), as the possibility of rain/ice was pretty high.  So I made “Martha’s” recipe for chocolate pie filling.  The pie crust was already made, so it was relatively easy.  I love the recipe, but I hate straining the pudding.  However, it was necessary, so I managed it by myself.  So messy!  I had chocolate pudding everywhere, but enough to fill the pie, too!

Then Saturday dawned.  And it was the first anniversary of the day I broke my leg; the 25th of January.  I can’t help but think of what I was doing a year ago today, and it wasn’t writing the blog!  I was, by now at 10:30 a.m., coming out of surgery with an external fixation attached to my right leg.  What seems strange to me now is; this is the first time I have ever looked up on the internet about the “external fixation”, and I have never looked at the pictures of my fracture, either.  

I just read up on broken legs and I realized all over again how bad my break was.  It wouldn’t have been nearly as traumatic if I hadn’t developed problems with the wound from the stitches where I had plates and pins inserted into my leg.  This operation was done 2 weeks after I had the external fixation done.  The Mayo Clinic says that it is common to have an infection from the outside apparatus.  Although I never broke out in a full-blown infection, I sure did suffer from the wound.  B had to take me to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital every week for months for wound treatment.  Then he had to dress the wound twice during the week.  If it hadn’t been for B and the wonderful nurses and staff at the Wound Clinic, I probably would have had to have another operation to clean out the wound.  The last little area is now healed completely.  About time!

Moving along, we had a great visit with Suzanne and Jeff, and the lunch went smoothly except for a little hiccup.  You knew there would be one.  B and I had a little miscommunication the night before, and when I got downstairs at 7:30, I had not much in the way of energy to work with.  Plus, we had to let the wood stove die down so B could remove the ash build up, so the house was cold.  I was wearing my down jacket over my clothes!  Anyway, B got up and was running the generator when they arrived, so I could get the casserole in the oven; finally.  Also, the ash vacuum cleaner motor, which is only a few years old, was slowly dying and making improper noises and burned electric smells as B was sucking out the ashes.  Grrr.

Still, it was all good.  After we finished lunch and were chatting near the wood stove, our friend Doctor John arrived.  B had ordered some parts for him and he was ready to pick them up!  John had a piece of pie and chatted away like he had known Jeff and Suzanne all his life!  I wish I had that kind of ability.

So, that brings us up to Sunday.  The rain/ice and wind came in last evening as predicted and, as B predicted, the yard is now icy.  I picked my way to the critter pen this morning, but I think, by now with the sunshine, the pen is probably not so icy.  Up to this minute, we have had nice sunshine.  

We will probably watch the NFL Pro Bowl Game today, but sadly, the football season is coming to an end or has, in some ways, already ended for many of us.  Now it is time to figure out dinner on Super Bowl night.

This ends one week and starts another.  

Stay well!

Sunny Days and a Gradual Warm Up – January 22, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Here we are and it is Wednesday again.  I’m writing this about 4:30 in the afternoon of a glorious sunny day.  This is day 3 of sunshiny days.  I think we are on a roll!

Tuesday we had a FedEx delivery that needed a signature, so initially I was going to swap Tuesday for Wednesday and stay home and clean Tuesday.  In the winter, I have to pick and choose my cleaning day.  I need lots of sunshine to keep the batteries going so I can vacuum.  However, B had one of those “sleepless nights in Clampett-ville” so he was up in the a.m. and I was free to go shopping.

I like to grocery shop on Wednesdays; don’t ask why, as there is no real reason.  However, I was free Tuesday and felt it was time to go after all those bargains.  But first I needed to stop at Walmart.  I make either a monthly or, as in this case, an every other month trip to Walmart.  There weren’t a lot of vehicles in the parking lot, but apparently they didn’t have enough help Tuesday and it was busy in the store.  The probiotic I take requires a trip to their pharmacy and that meant waiting in line.  Finally it was my turn and I got two months worth of probiotics and went on to finish my shopping.  

I also had a handful of paper coupons I wanted to use before they expire.  I’ve noticed that coupons have a much shorter life span than they used to.  So I got what I needed and, again, got in line.  I refuse, on principal, to use the auto-check-out, at least until I have no choice.  So, instead, I waited in line again.  Finally, I was free to go grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping seemed like a breeze compared to Walmart.  At least, until I got ready to check out.  Yep, I had to wait in line again!  

Once home, B announced that his phone, which has been acting up a bit for quite some time now, finally went berserk.  At one point, only 2/3 of the screen recognized his touch and, at another point, it was seeing touches that weren’t there and opening apps like crazy, making phone calls, sending texts.  It also wouldn’t shut off.  Finally, B got some control of it and shut it down.  Time for a new phone!  I encouraged him to go to the dreaded Verizon store and at least see if this one could be fixed (doubtful) or buy a brand new phone at the store.  B uses his phone constantly and really needs a good working model.  His preference was to buy another phone (of the same obsolete model) from E-bay.  We, especially B, do not like the huge new models.  The current “oldest model that will still work with Verizon” is the iPhone 5 SE, so that’s what we have.  B got them off Ebay just last year; his was New Old Stock and mine was used.  The newer they get, the bigger they are.  The bigger they get, the more cumbersome they are to carry around.

So this afternoon, B went to the Verizon store.  After awhile, I got a text saying he had purchased a new phone and his “wallet was much lighter”.  Sigh.  These are the sneaky little things one doesn’t take into consideration when retiring.  Not only the cost of the phone, but all sorts of various other charges and fees, too.   Since we are unable to have a landline phone due to being off the grid, we have to have a cell phone.  One that works properly is even nicer.  The new one is an iPhone 8.  It’s incrementally bigger than the 5 SE and, with the Otter protective case installed,  just barely fits into his pants side pocket.  When I’m forced to get a new one, the size is less critical, as I can carry mine in my pocketbook.

So that brings us to today.  Today was a really nice, sunny day.  I was determined to get my weekly cleaning done so I did not allow myself to be dissuaded.  And, I am happy to say, both the downstairs and upstairs have been dusted, dry mopped, and vacuumed.  The kitchen and downstairs bathroom floors have been washed too.  Not that it makes a whole lot of difference as the dust in this house is unbelievable.  We can’t really figure out why the house gets so dusty except for the wood stove.  I thought they were air tight???  

And the dreaded turkey stock had to be dealt with today as well.  I really didn’t add enough water to the carcass as I only got 3 bags of 2 cups each of stock out of the turkey.  It seems like I should have gotten more to me but it looks very good so I am sure it will be worth the work.  Right now I am testing the bags on the counter to see if there is any leakage BEFORE I put them in the freezer.  Like that hasn’t happened before!

In the evenings, we have been doing some streaming lately, as our regular shows have been pretty ho-hum since the New Year.  We were gifted a Netflix subscription, so we alternate between Netflix, Amazon, and PBS.  I am particularly fond of the “Great British Baking Show”, and I think I have written about it previously.

This show used to be carried by PBS, but apparently, after about 5 seasons, it was moved from the BBC to the Brit’s commercial stations.  At the same time, one of the judges, Mary Berry, left and was replaced by Prue Leith.  Paul Hollywood, the remaining original judge, continues.  The two side-kicks changed as well.  But the premise is the same; 12 amateur bakers compete to win a bouquet of flowers and a plate; no money!  On every episode there is a “star baker” who is exempt from being sent home and one person is eliminated until they are down to 3 players.  That’s when the final episode happens.

It is a very interesting show and we both enjoy it very much.  The bakers are extraordinary, and the challenges are amazing.  It is a test of not only skill, but time as well, and keeping cool under a lot of pressure.  I love their equipment as well.  Sometimes we have to look up a word to see what it means to us in the US.  I’ve learned a lot and B has practically drooled at some of the cakes!

At the moment, B is out on the big, super-heavy grooming snowmobile, opening up more trails.  Due to his late rising, followed by the trip to Verizon, it was about sundown when he left.  I have the proverbial sink full of dishes to wash, and I need to think up something to go with the soup.  Yesterday, I made a big batch of hamburger soup with local hamburg and our own canned string beans and a bag of frozen corn still in the freezer.  It was tasty last night, so I expect it to be even tastier tonight.  But I need to add something else for dinner, so I think we will have some sort of salad.

Anyway, this is our exciting life so far this week.  Tomorrow is a senior luncheon, so we will be out for lunch.  Ha, ha.

Stay well. 

Some Snow and I'm Having an Off Day! – January 20, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

You might ask, “What is an off day?”  I actually looked this up and it means just what it sounds like; just not feeling normal or 100%.  That’s me.  Here it is Monday and I’m having an “off day”.  There is no particular reason for this feeling, other than I probably over did it a bit over the weekend.

The sunshine is great, though.  The high today is about 20 degrees, but with the sunshine, it feels much warmer.  The temperature was barely above zero this morning when I got downstairs.  I went out with fresh water for the ducks and I took a small container of water for the chickens.  They are continuing to camp out under the porch with all the extra snow.  Therefore, they do not like to trudge to their water near the coop.

We got snow Saturday night, but I would say only about 4-5 inches.  That’s plenty, but not what we were expecting.  Because the temperatures remained so cold, the snow was light and easy to remove.  This is where I think I over did it.  

I went out Sunday morning and did what was necessary on the deck and deck steps.  Then I got the bright idea to brush off my car, the small pickup and shovel the top two front steps.  You may recall step #3 is buried for the season.

That wasn’t enough, so I went to the pen and shoveled a very narrow path for the chickens, ducks, and me.  B expanded on this yesterday afternoon.  So they have a decent  path to get them from point A, the coop, to point B, under the porch.  Since they are still molting, they wouldn’t be laying eggs anyway.  Freeloaders!  They do love the sunshine and huddle as close to it as they can from the safety of under the porch.

B is currently out on the snowmobile breaking tracks on our trails.  I noticed he put on his super heavy jacket, which is a good thing, and he is wearing a new wooly hat as well as heavy socks and boots.  

With the two football games yesterday, B put off snow blowing until last evening, after the last game was over.  I never even heard him finish the job up here.  It must have been midnight before he came home from taking the tractor back down to his mother’s.

I’m still working on that bloody turkey.  Saturday, I cut off what meat I could and then B took over.  He got even more meat off the carcass.  I have 5 bags ready for the freezer.  Today I finished making gravy and I have two 1 cup bags also freezer ready.

Sunday we had a break from turkey and I made pizza sauce, so we had pizza for dinner.  That seems so weird to me to have pizza on a Sunday evening, but our days all pretty much blend together anyway.  We have one quarter of the pizza to share tonight to go with, guess what, turkey!  Ha, ha.  The last thing is for me to strain the broth I made so that can get bagged up.  I left it for tomorrow, as I also had to bag up the leftover pizza sauce.  I get about 3 pizzas out of one batch of homemade pizza sauce.  It was darn good too.  So good, I have a picture of it for you.

Saturday, I was up early, so I made and baked two pie crusts; again, one for the freezer and one for us.  Last fall I was gifted a Long Island Cheese pumpkin that I love.  The pumpkin yielded 4 packages of 2 cups each of pumpkin puree.  I was not sure this would work as well in a pie as the canned pumpkin, but it did!  I thought it might be too wet, but no it was good.  I don’t even remember the last time I made a pumpkin pie.  It is so yummy. 

That about sums up the weekend.  First, prepping for the storm, then the actual storm, and then clean up from the storm.  That is winter in NH for you!  And of course, turkey duty.  

Time for me to wander back downstairs and face the dishes in the sink.  So I will close today’s blog.

Stay well!

Crazy Weather Continues and Busy – January 17, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

As we wind down another week, the weather continues to grab our attention.  Yesterday, Thursday, was snowy most of the morning.  Today, the sun is dominating.

My Thursday exercise class was cancelled, but after going out with water for the ducks early in the morning, I decided I did not want to venture out that early anyway.  However, it was nice to receive a phone call confirming my thoughts on the matter and to chat with one of the nice ladies.

I did, however, have a hair/mani appointment at 1:00ish and really felt the need to go.  As it turns out, the snow stopped about 12:30 as I was preparing to leave.  The driveway was not yet plowed and, come to find out, neither was our road!  Just as I got to the end of the dirt road, I spotted a village snowplow and truck loaded with sand.  I figured by the time I returned home, they would have gone up our road.  Later, they had gone up, but nary a touch of sand!  I was not amused.

Oops!  B is now up on the main roof and I am not happy.  Sounds like he is shoveling off part of the roof.  Turns out, he was brushing off the solar panels.  The snow tends to slide down and collect near the bottom of each solar panel and ice up.  He said it was “pretty slippery” (really???) up on the roof and he couldn’t break up the last bits of ice with one hand while hanging onto the rope with the other!  Anyway, he is in the house now!

Back to yesterday.  As I suspected, once I hit the main paved route, the road was clear but wet.  When I returned a few hours later, most of the pavement was now dry.  The temperatures remained steady in the mid-30s, but started dropping as evening drew near.  And drop they did.  By this morning, it was zero here.  

So I now have a hair cut and pretty nails again.  They won’t last, though, as I have already wrestled with a turkey this morning!  Grrr.

It is amazing how strong the sun is this time of the year, even with outside temperatures around a high of 13 degrees.  We are due for a below zero night tonight.  Even still, if I sit directly in the sun, I start to perspire.  B was up earlier than normal because the sun was pouring into the bedroom and woke him up.  There is hope yet!  It is always a pleasure to have a real sunny day.  

My father would call today “a weather breeder”, with full on sunshine and clear, cloudless sky.  And sure enough, the prediction is for another snow storm tomorrow and, especially, tomorrow night into Sunday.  We shall see if this comes about and if it is a “plow-able” amount of snow.  The forecasted amount has increased from 4 inches to 6.  B did not plow us out last evening, although he went down to his mother’s and did her driveway.  It was about 4 inches, and he said it wasn’t worth bothering with, especially with more coming two days later.

Today I have been very busy.  I am roasting a commercial frozen turkey.  I haven’t roasted a store-bought turkey in years, much preferring a local bird.  However, 39 cents a pound was too good to pass up. One reason I like local is that the bird hasn’t been frozen.  I have a difficult time thawing out a frozen turkey, due to limited refrigerator space.  This time I stuck it in the dorm fridge and that worked well.

This morning, I brought it in and finished thawing it the way my mother always did.  I washed out the kitchen sink really well, laid a kitchen towel on the bottom and put the unwrapped bird on the towel to anchor it and let it sit in cold water.  It was mostly thawed except inside.  I had a dickens of a time wrestling with the frozen neck that the producer stuck into the cavity.  I finally got it out, dried the turkey with yet another kitchen towel and plunked into the roasting pan while I made the dressing.  This turkey is a mere 14 lbs.  A baby in my book!

I’ve had several people tell me how easy it is to roast a chicken/turkey.  It is not so!  Not only did I have to wrestle with the innards, I had to wrestle with it to get it stuffed and into a bag to cook it.  I roast all my turkeys in a bag now, as I think they roast more evenly.  Hence, my newly polished fingernails took a beating already.  

So now it is in the oven roasting away.  I have a small bowl of dressing to bake in the oven, as I could not get all the dressing shoved into the turkey.  I really do not see how this is easy!  Also, once roasted, the meat has to be dealt with, broth made from the carcass and gravy made.  Easy?  Not in my book.  However, I don’t have to deal with any of that today.

I brought in from the freezer a small bag of gravy and a bag of winter squash, which I had processed in November, to go with the turkey.   So that will be dinner.  Tomorrow I plan to make a pumpkin pie with the pureed pumpkin I froze in October from the Long Island Cheese pumpkin.  I’ll keep you posted.

Also, thinking we were having company for dinner Saturday night (now we are not, due to Mother Nature and a predicted snow storm), I bought a bag of small white, pearl onions.  I had planned to cream them to go with the squash and turkey.  Peeling a bag of small onions is an act of love.  I was crying and washing my hands all during the peeling process.  I think we will have them just steamed with butter and no white sauce.  My mother always fixed these for Thanksgiving.  My Thanksgiving was spoiled by my pneumonia, so I didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the turkey.  That is another reason I decided to roast one now.  Plus I have a gaping hole in one freezer (gasp!) where the turkey was sitting.  Quick!  Fill up the hole fast!  I probably will fill it with bags of meat once we disassemble the turkey.  I’m going to try to catch B and talk him into cutting the meat off the carcass.  He does a much more thorough job than I do.

So, this ends our week.  We have 2 NFL football games on Sunday to watch.  The winners will advance to the Super Bowl in two weeks.  Should be good watching!

Have a great weekend.  I know some of you have a 3 day weekend ahead of you.

Stay well. 

Smokey House, Fuzzy Eyes, and More Bangs! – January 15, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

I’m starting to write this blog around noon time on Wednesday.  The temperatures are milder today, as in the low 40s, but so far not much for sunshine, so it feels raw and damp outside.  The critters, however, are loving it.  The chickens have been hibernating under the porch for days, but today – surprise, surprise – they have surfaced and wanted treats!  Actually, they want treats every day, but today they are coming out from under their hiding place to greet me when I enter the pen.  

I’ve made several trips to the dreaded compost area.  You know, the place out in the edge of the woods where I am sure something with glinty eyes and big white teeth is watching me and waiting.  I looked around, but didn’t see anything looking back at me, though.  Meanwhile the girls were hollering for more treats.  They got the end of some very old yogurt with crushed egg shells in it to give them extra protein and calcium.  Hopefully, this will encourage them to lay a few eggs.  

You may recall, I was baking chicken legs in the oven for dinner last night.  Well, what a mess!  I suppose I should have known that to bake them in butter in a 450 degree oven was going to spell disaster, but I didn’t.  B was running around opening doors and windows, turning on the fan, etc and the fire alarm was blaring; all because the hot butter and my dirty oven were sending out smoke!  I was cranky about it.  After all, I didn’t want to waste the food, but I know breathing in smokey air isn’t great.  Eventually B got the smoke out of the house, but it seemed to take forever.  Meanwhile, papers and napkins were flying around the house while the doors/windows were open and the wood stove was trying to throw out heat.  I won’t ever do that again.  However, it was a tasty recipe!

Then this morning, I finally had my yearly eye exam.  Of course, not without a phone call from the company’s bookkeeper who asked if I wanted to pay the “uninsured” price of $99 or $160 because I had not met my yearly Medicare deductible.  This would mean they would send it to Medicare for me.  How gracious of them.  I opted to have the paperwork sent to Medicare and pay the higher price.  I need to reach my deductible as soon as possible.  

The exam went well and no new prescription needed, nor any eye issues.  Oh, and get this.  Once there, the staff always asks if you want pictures of your eyeballs taken which helps the optometrist to study your “behind the scenes” eyeballs.  That is an extra $35 charge.  Uh-huh.  I always say yes as my mother had glaucoma and and I have high blood pressure, so I figure it helps to alert the guy if he sees anything unusual.  He didn’t.  By now, I’m $195 in the hole.  Grrr.

Anyway, my eyes were dilated and, having light colored eyes, they feel horrible and the dilation lasts longer than it does if you have dark colored eyes.  Go figure.  It was just on and off sun, so the ride home wasn’t too bad, but I did not make any stops along the way.  This is one time when I am enjoying cloudy skies! 

However, I keep thinking I need to be wearing my glasses!  It is the weirdest feeling to have cloudy eyes.  So, I am working in the kitchen today to clean up for possible company on Saturday and trying not to over-use my eyes.  Obviously, I am not doing that so well, huh???

I’m stopping for awhile to rest the eyes and do some more work in the kitchen.  Be back soon!

It’s now almost 3:30 and I have messed around in the kitchen, started a salad for dinner, and ended up dusting the house today.  I have one room left to dust upstairs.  I can’t vacuum because we don’t have that much juice in the batteries with no sunshine.

B, meanwhile, has been out banging away using his re-loaded bullets.  The noise wasn’t too bad today.  I just keep a pair of ear plugs handy.  He is back in the house now comparing notes.  Re-loading is quite time consuming and involves lots of steps.

So I’ll be closing today’s blog.  My eyes have recovered pretty well by now, and the pupils are getting smaller.  I chuckled as one pupil is larger than the other!  Tomorrow is exercise class again and a hair/mani appointment in the afternoon.  It is also supposed to snow.  The fun never ends!

Stay well.

Bored, Baking Bread, and Bangs! – January 14, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Here we are Tuesday with temperatures around 30 degrees.  Both Monday and Tuesday have been dreary, dark days.  

Monday, I went skipping off to exercise class, but it was somewhat a struggle to get thru the routine.  Anyway, once home I had sort of planned to go to the laundromat and get groceries.  However, we were expecting a Fed Ex delivery that needed a signature.  

B had said for me to wake him up when I was ready to leave, if Fed Ex had not appeared, and he would take over.  However, I noticed light precipitation and decided that, since I was home and the wood stove was going, I might as well stay home.  But I was bored.  I couldn’t do anything with the dark skies and the little power we had, like vacuum or iron, both of which were winking at me, so that left me with what???  

In all honesty, I could have done something worthwhile, like wash down the kitchen cabinets, which need it, but that wasn’t appealing, either.  Then I remembered that, since last year before I broke my leg, I’d been wanting to make Amish White Bread from scratch.  I really did think about this, as the recipe makes two loaves.  Should I make rolls instead?  Finally, I decided I would do both; make one loaf of bread and one batch of rolls from the same dough recipe.  Genius!

However, rather than print the recipe, I decided to follow along with two different gals on YouTube.  Big mistake for me.  I need print in front of me.  Anyway, I got started and then forgot to add the salt!  I am not sure how much chemical action missing salt would make, but I figured taste-wise, it would be noticed.  Sigh.  Then the yeast didn’t cooperate either.

You are getting the picture, right???  But I kept forging ahead.  I kneaded the dough until it felt different, just as the gals said it would.  Then I let the dough rise and did all the steps.

However, I knew something wasn’t right, as it needed to rise again after I put half the batter in the loaf pan and made rolls out of the rest of the dough.  It didn’t rise much; much less than an inch above the loaf pan as the gal said it would.  Hmm.  Finally, I figured I’d just bake the darn stuff and let it go. 

The bread is certainly edible, but a bit dry, as are the rolls.  I should not have cooked it as long as I did.  Oh well.  The rolls are over-baked (not burnt!), but not the best rolls either.  This was a good learning experience.  Today, we had sandwiches made from the bread.  Then I sliced it and wrapped it up securely in plastic wrap, then in a freezer bag.  It is in the freezer.  Ditto with the rolls.  One thing I did with the rolls was to brush them with butter before baking, and I added sea salt to the top of them.  That helped replace the missing salt.  Anyway, I’ll try again soon.  I enjoyed kneading the dough and, with a print recipe, I will be fine.  Here’s a couple of pictures.

Then the “bump incident” came along.  As you may know, B has always been kind of a night owl, and getting worse all the time.  Anyway, about the time he was getting ready to come to bed, I woke up and needed to use the bathroom, thanks to the medical team that insisted on me drinking more water.  Anyway, B was preparing for bed, but then realized he had yet one more thing to do downstairs.  He rushed downstairs and BANG.  He missed a step and was sprawled out on the floor by the time I got downstairs.

Now, here is what was going through my sleep deprived mind when he hit the floor.  First, I said a short prayer that B was alive.  After what seemed like ages, I began to hear him moaning; no cursing, but stirring.  By then I got downstairs; thinking how was I going to get a half dressed male into the car and to the emergency room???  I think he did get the wind knocked out of him, but finally he stood up and said his wrist and heel and knee hurt.  No broken bones; no rush to the emergency room after all.

Of course, after all that, I had a difficult time falling back to sleep, but not B.  He was soon snoring.  I did have presence of mind enough to ask if he hit his head.  B said no.  But if he had, what was I to do?  Wake him up every hour?  I shudder to think about that.

So when I did get up for the day and knew B was okay, I decided to get out of the house and go do the laundry and get the groceries.  Nothing exciting, but things that needed getting done.  I had had enough drama for awhile.

It’s now after 4:00 p.m.  I have dinner to get, as last night was “clean out the refrigerator” night.  And, for the first time in years, I bought chicken legs in the market.  Truth be told; Friday when I met Missy in Newport for lunch, I went into a grocery store that we don’t have in Claremont.  The store advertises a list of special items they deep discount on Fri, Sat, Sun only.  One was butter for $1.99 a pound, with the catch being you had to buy two pounds exactly.  No problem.  The other special was chicken legs for $1.88 a pound, provided you bought a package of more than 3 lbs.  

The thing is with store-bought chicken, you are supposed to wash everything and your hands over and over again while handling it, in case of bacteria.  When I buy a local chicken, I don’t worry about it.  To me, if there is that much bacteria on store-bought chicken, why buy it???  However, chicken legs sounded like a nice change, so tonight is the night.  Once home, I divided the package so we will get two meals out of each batch.  

I’ll let you know how this goes, as I am trying for crispy baked chicken legs.  I’m also fixing carrots to go with them.  

The other BANG also comes from B; he’s outside shooting a rifle now.  He got it at an auction, and it turned out to be some odd, unheard-of caliber, so he’s making special ammunition to fit it.  He putters in the basement at all hours, then he test-fires it during his limited daylight.   He says he thinks he’s living on the Arctic Circle, due to the small amount of daylight he sees.

Stay well.

Mother Nature on Steroids – January 12, 2020 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

I’m writing this Sunday before the first game of two NFL games today.  These are the divisional games.

Of the two games yesterday, one top ranked team won as expected.  However, the second game, with the Tennessee Titans vs. the Baltimore Ravens, proved to be an eye opener.  You may recall, the Titans beat the NE Patriots last week to get to this point.  However, no one, and I mean no one, expected them to beat the mean ole Ravens.  Hells bells!  They did beat them, quite soundly, at Baltimore, even with the Ravens having had a week off from play.  Amazing. This is why I like watching football.

Anyway, let’s get to Mother Nature.  Yesterday, Saturday, was mild with temperatures into the 50s and it never got any colder last night.  So today, we started the day with temperatures already in the 50s and mild air.  We even have had sunshine off and on.  I believe we were forecast to have rain today, but no rain, but lots of wind as the day progresses.

Saturday, I could barely get out to the critter pen because of the water on top of the ice in our yard.  The rain from Friday night just sat on top of the snow and ice we already had.  I used one ski pole to help me get around, but I was pretty scared of falling.  I managed to change the drinking water once for the critters and that was it.  It was scary and treacherous going underfoot.  I told B I would not be able to do it again Saturday, so if it was needed, he would have to do critter duty for me.  

I am using one ski pole this winter to get around our yard and I have one in my car in case I have to walk up the driveway.  So, I was much relieved when I looked out the window this morning and the watery ice and snow was gone.  Poof!  Just gone like that.  All our snow is gone, except for where B has plowed into a heap.  However, the driveway is still icy in too many places for my taste.

This morning was the monthly Mason’s breakfast in the village.  B is not used to such early hours, but he managed just fine, and we had a real nice breakfast and chat with some friends.  These breakfasts are very much appreciated.  

Once home, it was time to do “the deed” and clean out the critter coops.  B said he would help.  He smoothed out all the muddy places and cleaned out the duck house.  The ducks are pretty neat.  They use just two corners for their excrement, whereas the chickens could not  care less.  One Leghorn had to see what we were doing in the duck coop and give her approval.  She didn’t even try to supervise the chicken coop cleanup.  Anyway, between us, we got things cleaned out, some fresh shavings distributed to the bad spots, and the wheelbarrow emptied.  I tried to sneak the wheelbarrow into the garage, but I got caught, so B said to let him know when I need it and he will get it out of the barn for me.  

Our friend, John, has been over each day.  He and B are yakking it up over tools, etc.  I generally try and keep my ears closed!  Yesterday John needed B to weld up some handle for him, so B did that as well.  

B also went down to his mother’s between ball games to use a tool he built a few years ago to scrape the ice off her driveway where the snow comes off the roof.  He was huffing and puffing when he got home.  The ice was several inches thick, even after lots of melting,  and he knew his mother wouldn’t be able to budge it.

Just to show you how Mother Nature is on steriods, here are two pictures I took of the brook along our road.  The first one I took Friday when coming home from a lovely visit and lunch with Missy.  The other picture I took on our way home this morning from breakfast.  

I can hardly believe we have had a high of 58 degrees today after a high of low 50’s yesterday.  According to the weather reports, the temperature should be dropping like a bomb this afternoon and bottom out to a low of 17 tonight.  The wind is due to die down around 4:00 p.m. today.  In a blink of an eye, our little snow is gone!  

We could get used to winter weather in the high 50’s, low 60’s.  I know the critters think spring is here.  Sorry to say, I think they will be in for a rude awakening soon enough.

Time is ticking away and it will soon be time for kick-off so I’m closing this blog.  Hope you all had a nice weekend.

Stay well.