• Holidays,  Ramblings

    It’s the Hap-Happiest Season of All

    I have a confession. I’ve already started decorating for Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever decorated for Christmas before. We’ve had trees, of course, the doodads we painted, and outside lights, but I’ve never filled our rooms with themed things. For me, it’s just stuff I’ll have to dust, and I abhor dusting. But this year has been different. The moment Halloween was over, I started to get excited about Christmas. I know Thanksgiving is in there, but since food has shifted for us, and family is too far away to be with, Thanksgiving is more vacation time than holiday time. Plus, while I am looking forward to the cozy, sparkle-filled look of a house brimming with snowy squirrels, boucle plaid pillows, and twinkle lights, I do not have any desire to add faux leaves and twig wreaths to my already exorbitant amount of things to dust. Seriously. I hate dusting. Tonight, more fairy lights, glittery trees, squirrels, candles probably scented like pine and peppermint, will be scattered around our itty bitty place. Speaking of squirrels, that’s what that little guy in the picture is… If you want him, you can find him at World Market. Do you see how glowing white…

  • Ramblings,  Recipes

    Healthier Pumpkin Molasses Spice Bread

    Here is the pumpkin bread recipe I mentioned in a previous post. I have a few things to say before you run to your kitchen to make this. First, if you are looking for a great pumpkin bread recipe, I can promise you, this is not it. Healthy food can be good, but it’s not always as tasty as the unhealthy version. I would bet all our Monopoly money against you finding someone who honestly thinks a baked potato is better plain. However, in my experience, if your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, something being fantastic doesn’t matter as much as something not rushing you toward a heart attack, diabetes, or obesity. Second, I am not a baker. As you can see by the ingredient list, I just dumped about a teaspoon of most things in and called it good enough. That’s how I cook, so naturally, that’s also how I bake. A little of this, some of that. If I like it, I’ll make it again, perhaps tweaking things to make it better, and if I don’t like it, at least then I know what not to do next time. Because I’m not a baker, please don’t…

  • Ramblings

    Burgers and Fries and Cherry Pies

    After a few days of sitting in the living room, our new stove is finally in place. It looks … interesting. The old range was white, as was the old refrigerator. The new appliances are both black and stainless steel, but since they’re not made by the same company, each is its own shade of silver. On top of the slight color difference, the handles don’t match. It doesn’t matter since the fridge will be coming with us, but it looks a bit silly. However, the most important parts are all fantastic. The oven turns on and back off again the very first time you tell it to do so. This is amazing to me. It’s been quite a long time since that’s happened. On top of that, the temperature is right where it should be, not 100+ degrees too high. The stove works and there are burner caps, which top off the sealed burners, making it impossible for mice to crawl up through the cooktop. I’m sure they’ll still invade, as is their wont, but at least it’s not as easy. Tomorrow I may bake the pumpkin bread I mentioned before, cement the measurements, and possibly post the recipe. I…

  • Ramblings

    Somethin’s Cookin’ and It Jus’ Ain’t Right

    Our oven is hardly used. I’ve never been a big baker, and other than the occasional lasagna or flatbread, I rarely cooked dinner in the oven. Now that we’ve steered away from heavier foods, it’s only used for roasting vegetables, baking a (less un-)healthy pumpkin bread, and making our baked oatmeal. I just said I was never a big baker, and then two of the three things I listed are baked goods. Anyway! As infrequently as it may be turned on, the fact that it’s now impossible to turn off is too annoying for it to remain. The last time I used it, it took over twenty-six hours to turn off, and it only shut down then because I reached my breaking point and unplugged it. Before that fateful day, it would take between six and fourteen hours to get the obnoxious thing to switch off. It took us months to determine which Vitamix we wanted. By the way, we went with the Professional Series 750 because I’m 104 years old and apparently anti-technology. I found myself arguing against the digital panel on the Ascent series because “What if it breaks?” and “Back in my day…” and then it was time…

  • Creatures,  Ramblings

    Her Dirty Paws and Furry Coat

    In our farmhouse in Iowa, we had a lot of mice. A lot of them. In fact, whatever you think is a lot, make it a lot of that amount. We could hear chewing in the walls of every room. There was mouse poop everywhere. We would see multiple mice every day. We set up a camera in the kitchen to record them overnight, and you can see three at a time, I believe, in one of the videos. I can’t seem to locate the recordings at the moment. They were everywhere. I love animals, and I did not want to kill these innocent little lives, just going about how they knew to survive. So we set up live traps, and there were so many mice that Brian was catching multiple by hand on a near-daily basis. We purchased a little wire cage in which to transport them, as we caught each one, across the river to a large cornfield near the trees. It didn’t take long for that to become too much. So, we purchased a large fish tank with a mesh lid to keep them in until we could mass transport them. They had timothy hay, a little wood arch…