Warm Christmas Wishes

14 Dec

We are having our annual Christmas Open House tomorrow, and right now the temp is 48º. It is forecasted to be even warmer tomorrow.

One year The Squire and I went to Tennessee for Christmas, and it was unseasonably warm and rainy, just as it is here today.  The Squire’s folks had a space heater in the living room, and we were all roasting.  The Squire took off his jacket and I removed my blazer. His father called out, “Vera! Come turn up the heat. These young’uns aren’t wearing coats!”

Said and done.

The Squire removed his fisherman’s sweater and sat down in his T-shirt. I had on a blouse and a vest, so removing the vest was the best I could do. “Vera! Come turn up the heat. These young’uns are sitting around in their underwear!”

Said and done.

With nothing else to safely remove, I decamped to the back porch with The Squire’s youngest sister, and we did counted cross-stitch. About fifteen minutes later The Squire and his brother joined us, as did Vera and Dad. Richard got out his guitar and we all sang Christmas carols and hymns until it was time to go out for dinner.

I don’t think Dad ever understood why we all had to go outside when he believed we were cold.

Home On The Range

13 Dec

The Squire went to get something out of the car last night, and stuck his head in the door to motion for me to come outside.

The dog was racing and chasing, having a grand time – with a coyote!

We called the dog back to the house, but the coyote stayed out by the barn, cautious, but not particularly afraid, eating the food we’d put out for the foxes. He sat down and looked at us for a few moments, and then trotted back into the woods.

 

Oh, Good Grief!

11 Dec

I saw a bumper sticker today: “Ben Carson in 2020“. 

I thought we settled that in 2016. The man’s a glutton for punishment.

 

Our Grandson, the Movie Star

20 Nov

Well, not quite, but our grandson, Matthew, an Air Force reservist, was chosen to appear in a video advertisement for Baltimore Gas and Electric.

Some swell, huh?

 

The Staff of Life

20 Nov

I love to cook. Very little comes into our house “pre-made”, although I must admit I draw the line at making my own pasta. Been there; done that. No “instant this”, or “instant that” crosses our threshold.

But of all the things I make, bread is our favorite. Back when I was still working full time, I made bread three times a week, by hand. It’s great anger management therapy! Knead that dough! Flip, flop. Beat ’em and bang ’em. One for you and one for your ugly brother. And your little dog, too. (Wait! That’s another story.) I got to beat people up and had something to show for it when I was done. I have dozens of recipes;  I once sent The Squire to the office every day for a month – twenty working days – with a different kind of bread every time. White bread. Whole wheat bread. Onion-dill. Cheese bread. Beer-rye. Since each batch makes two loaves I was giving the excess to the girls in my carpool, but they stopped taking them, as their husbands wanted to know why they didn’t make bread, too.

But this one is our favorite, hands down.

1-1/2 cups milk                                                                                                                                   1/4 cup honey                                                                                                                                     1/4 cup butter                                                                                                                                        2 eggs                                                                                                                                                        2 teaspoons salt                                                                                                                                     5 cups white flour (I prefer unbleached)                                                                                         1 package yeast                                                                                                                                     2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, if desired (optional, but it makes the bread more “manageable”.

The girls gave me a bread machine about ten years after I retired, and I admit I use it now all the time, but you can do this the “old fashioned” way as well. If you know how to make bread you don’t need me to tell you the “let rise, punch down” jazz. In fact, I got this recipe from a Betty Crocker cook book, published many years before bread machines existed.  You can use almost any recipe that calls for less than six cups of flour in your machine without any changes.

Warm the milk, honey and butter in the microwave until warm – the butter does not need to melt. Add other ingredients as listed; your flour and salt should not meet until the bread is started, as salt will kill the yeast before it has a chance to work.   I use the “Dough” setting on my machine, turn out the dough, and shape it into two 1-1/2 pound loaves  and place in 9 x 5 pans. Bake at 350ºF for about thirty minutes, or until it reaches 190º internally. Do not insert the thermometer too early, or it will drag the loaf down; bake twenty minutes and then insert the probe and leave it until the alarm sounds. Turn out of the pans and brush with butter immediately to keep the crust soft. (I just unwrap the end of a stick of butter and run it over the bread.)

Good stuff! And smells divine!

(I have NO idea why the ingredients are spread across the page that way. I typed them in a straight line!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween 2019

15 Nov

Charleston Great-grandkids. Butch was Spider Man, and Sweet Girl was – well, she’s her mother’s daughter. Five, going on twenty-five.

halloween 2019

Buckingham Palace

7 Nov

Our local library sponsored a Visit to Buckingham Palace this afternoon, and it was very interesting.

They had some sort of “Viewmaster” things they passed out to each of us, while the librarian changed the slides from her desk. We had a three-dimensional tour of several rooms – eight, I think – and if you turned your head this way or that you could look all the way around the room, as well as looking up at the ceiling and down at the rugs.  The really funny thing was if someone else couldn’t find what you saw, you would point in the direction of the object, as if you were actually in the room.

Since I seldom pass up a chance to get gussied up, I put on a nice dress and grabbed one of my biggest hats. If I’m going to tea with the queen, I’m not going to show up in jeans and a T-shirt! I was the only one there who wasn’t in jeans and a T-shirt! That’s alright. I was happy to sip my tea (in a Styrofoam cup!) and nibble my “biscuits”.