March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July So Far

It's interesting to me how wildflowers vary from year to year. This year some of our road ditches are lined with what appear to be thick plantings of Queen Anne's Lace, and these Brown-Eyed Susans are everywhere. This photo and the one below were taken just west of our house.  

Doesn't it look as though a professional landscaper carefully planned these plantings?
We have an ancient red leaf plumb tree in our yard that has perhaps cross-pollinated with the wild plums that grow in thickets along the roadsides. The fruit from our tree has become nearly inedible over the years because it is so sour--but it makes pretty, pleasantly tart jelly.

I often wonder whether other families make such an occasion of birthdays as we do.
Around here birthdays call for a special dinner, decorations, gifts, and of course a cake! This year we have several celebrations planned as four family members will celebrate milestone birthdays--our son will turn 30, our son-in-law will be 40, and the handsome gentlemen below have just turned 50 and 65 respectively.   

Singing "Happy Birthday" to these two was easy since they share the same name, "John!"  Don't you like Farmer John's very appropriate tee-shirt caption?  I gave him a mug that states "It's a crime to look this good at 65!"  And it is.  Makes my normal aging alongside him somewhat of a challenge at times.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Summer Cold and Homemade Broth

Grandkids, farming, and cooking:  Top row l to r: Daniel, age 9; Rebekah, 19 months, Isaac, 20 months.  Middle row:  homemade broth ready for the freezer, big brother helping baby brother, and Logan, age 4-almost-5 eating his first ever donut (it is dairy free thanks to his creative mom); bottom row:  on my first walk after the awful cold; Farmer John at the end of a hard day of planting soybeans; and one of the five cherry pies I made during June from the cherries on my in-laws' trees.  
On June 5th I came down with a bone-chilling, body-aching, full-fledged summer cold that put me into quarantine and required antibiotics for a secondary sinus infection. I was housebound for most of the month, but then I did a little old fashioned counting of my blessings and realized--June wasn't really so bad after all.  Farmer John didn't catch the virus and so he was able to plant soybeans, combine wheat, and begin hay-making without discomfort; farmers don't get sick leave and so he would have kept right on going through the misery that put me to bed.  And, when I look back at my calendar I realize that I was really only completely out of commission for 3 days (although the family avoided me for a full week just to be safe!).

Because of my grandsons' dairy allergies, I use my homemade chicken broth to make  a dairy free white sauce that is a good base for soups and casseroles.  T'his month, I drank lots of this healing broth as a beverage and who knows? Without it that cold might have lasted even longer!  Here's how I do it, approximately:

5 to 6 pound whole chicken
About 6 quarts of water
About 2 tablespoons salt
A stem (or two) of of fresh sage-- 6-8 inches long with lots of leaves.
One or two stems of rosemary
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 medium Vidalia onions, quartered
Large head of garlic, sliced in half crosswise
Pepper to taste, about 1 Tablespoon

Quarter the onions and place two or three quarters into the chicken cavity. Place the chicken and all remaining ingredients in a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover, cook about an hour and fifteen minutes. Remove chicken and as soon as it is cool enough, remove meat from the bones. If desired, return bones to broth and simmer another 45 minutes or so; some people believe the bones have healing properties.  Let broth cool about an hour, strain through a colander. I freeze the broth in one quart containers like Ina Garten uses, available here:  Cassandra's Kitchen