Fostered

As much as I wanted things to to work out, as a course of events sometimes goes, it didn't work. This little gal ended up being a foster baby for us. I have never in my life given a pet away, but things need to work properly to have a happy home. We did our best to work out the kinks, but in the long run it was to no avail. She was/is a sweet little thing with people and other dogs, and her transition to our home was 90% smooth, but we could not get over the hurdle with the rub between she and my old kitty. I wracked my brain trying to work out a way for them both to be able to be in the same house once the weather turns cold enough that Angel chooses to come indoors again – Even if I had to partition off the family room to keep Angel in a safe space away from the Tasmanian devil. We even went as far as ordering a training collar (which, due to her bullheadedness, had absolutely no effect). I had Ginger for 4 weeks, and we worked diligently to overcome her natural tendencies. Every evening we'd all take a nice long walk to take the edge off, and when we got home I'd hold Angel, and Bruce would hold Ginger, and we'd sit on the double rocker on the front porch together. We'd rock, relax, and let them check each other out safely, in close proximity to each other. While my kitty purred and made biscuits, Ginger would look for every opportunity to try and take a chunk out of that little cat.

Three nights ago I came home from work, and while getting the dogs dinner ready, heard the gate clanging and rattling, and instantly thought OMG my cat. I ran out the door, and a cottontail rabbit was frantically trying to escape thru the gate. I think all 3 of the dogs had taken chase, but as it tried to flee under the gate, that little 8 pound dachshund grabbed it, pulled it back thru the gate, and absolutely annihilated that fairly good sized rabbit. I could not run fast enough to save it, and it took probably a sum total of 30 seconds, start to finish, for the dog to decimate that little creature.

That did it. I knew it was not, and never would be, a safe environment for my cat to live in. I knew there would never be a time, no matter how hard we worked at it, that we could ever totally trust her in the same proximity with the cat, even if we were at home. It was, without a doubt, not worth the risk after seeing the damage she could inflict in a matter of seconds.

Apparently the stars were in perfect alignment for such a situation, and after making several calls, a couple that Bobby and his family knew, came that very evening and picked up Ginger and all her toys, beds, and other belongings. I cried like big baby for the rest of the evening, because I had become very attached to her, and she to me. But some dogs are just not meant to live with cats, and she was certainly one of them.

Her new Mom called after 3 days and let me know that Ginger is doing very well. It is a good setting for her as they are an older couple, just the 2 of them, and no other animals whatsoever. They had a dachshund they lost a few years ago at the ripe old age of 18. I feel so very thankful they were able to take her and give her a good loving home.

Something I've learned from this whole ordeal is that I have a tremendous respect for folks with hearts large enough to foster any and all living things, from critters to children. What a tough job to love, bond, and care for someone, knowing full well you will eventually have to let them go. I guess I'm too selfish – it's sure not my cup of tea, it breaks your heart.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

 

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In A Good Path For The Eclipse

Our little town is not too far away from the path where folks had the ultimate view of the eclipse. We were able to view about 95% coverage of the sun. Boy, people were sure wound-up about it! The eclipse viewing glasses were a major hot ticket item everywhere you looked. Just before the big day, some enterprising soul was trying to sell the silly little paper and plastic things for $25 a pair on Craigslist! One of the gals I work with came out early to relieve me for lunch (and so we could both have a nice clear view to gawk at the eclipse together 🙂 ), and she read on the Internet to stack old film negatives about 8 deep and clip them together, on each end, with a clothes pin. You could hold them up like steampunk opera glasses of sorts, and take quick peeks at the eclipse in progress.

I took a few pictures while at work during the height of it, which was about 11:35 a.m. mountain time. I had read it makes the birds confused and they think it's time to bed down, but it has been so smokey here from all the forest fires in progress, the birds I saw didn't seem to notice the eclipse at all!

This was at 11:30 a.m.

This first pic was around 5 to 8 minutes from the most obscuring we would witness. The shadows were odd, and it got darkish in the scale house like before a good rain storm, but it really wasn't that dark out.

This was the height of the whole shebang, about 11:38 a.m.

I took this pic of my hand's shadow on the side of the scale house to show just how much light there still was.

 

This was the tail end of it, about 11:43 a.m. It was still odd light, but rapidly getting brighter.

Anyhoo, there is my slide show/book report on the whole get up! I'm so lucky to have a window to hang out of and take pictures where I work!

TTFN

Teresa

 

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Right In The Middle Of It All……

I hope these posts don't come off like I'm sniveling and whining; it just seems like so much change in a short time, so much needing to be done, and time just barreling along at a break neck pace, it's been hard to keep up.

My folks moving has been a massive disrupter, of course more so for them than anyone else involved, but it is extremely difficult to watch them go through all this. We've recently had a lot of extended family upheaval, which creates even more stress. Then, in the middle of it all, one of my Mom's best friends that she's known clear back from her high school days, passed away somewhat unexpectedly.

Never married and no children, Bob's little dog was his “kid” and best pal. After everyone initially got over the shock of his passing, first thoughts went to “where is Ginger”? My Mom called Bobby's neighbor, and found out that Ginger had been taken to the animal shelter that morning, after he had gone to check on Bobby after not seeing him for 2 days and finding him passed away in the house. Bob had a lot of family in our area, but none of them apparently were able to take the pup, and the neighbor was not equipped to take in an un-potty trained adult dog.

So, here is my poor Mom, in the midst of this chaotic move, heartbroken about losing her friend, and now distraught about the welfare of this little dog. Lucky for her she has the biggest dope in the county on speed dial. About an hour after she called, I was trekking out to the animal shelter on my lunch break to pick up a dog I'd never laid eyes on before. To keep “just for a minute” til everything calmed down, and Bob's family could iron out everything that needed to be done, and decide who would take her.

That was 2 weeks ago, and guess where the little shorty pants is…………hard to guess, right?

Poor little thing was devastated after being locked in the house for 2 days with her person that was her everything, and I think a dog must certainly know when someone has passed. Then to be swept out of her quiet, sheltered environment and taken to the Pound filled with people, dogs, cats and other animals that she had never seen before. She hadn't had food or water for 2 days, and even with coaxing, refused to eat. She was absolutely petrified when I picked her up about 3 hours after she had been dropped at the shelter. I had to go straight back to work, so she then had to be with yet another person she didn't know, in a building where big noisy garbage trucks, construction vehicles, and cars banged across scales all afternoon. She was so depressed, she paid no attention to anything.

I was worried about how to introduce her to Declan and Piper, since she had always been an only doggy. I did some Cesar Milan research, and he suggests taking all the dogs (separately) to a neutral area, then a family member walking out with the established dogs, followed at a distance by a family member leading the new dog. Walk at a brisk clip til they are a little tired, and gradually let the new dog catch up with the established dogs, and keep on walking. When everyone (people included) are a bit bushed, slow down and let everyone mingle and sniff, get acquainted. That worked really well, so Bruce and I continued on with the walk and eventually headed for home. Cesar suggests the established dogs enter their home first, followed by the people, and the new dog welcomed in last. It worked terrifically, and they are all fast friends. I wish I could call this the happy ending, but you all know about Murphy's Law.

She wants to eat my old antique cat.

This is not acceptable.

It has always been Angel's choice to live on the front porch as soon as warm weather permits. She loves her blankets to snuggle up on, and also to sleep in Rooti's igloo dog house (that is stuffed full of blankets) that is in the front yard. She can come in thru the doggy door whenever she wants, but chooses to live on the front porch. I feed and water her on the porch late spring thru early autumn, and when the nights start getting nippy, she moves back into the house, and close to the woodstove. I have never had a dog that didn't like my cats. In the first few days we had a small run-in, and then a big tussle when Angel came into the back yard and the dog saw her before we did. Not good. We are fortunate in that Angel is separated from all the other critters for now. We are working on it a tiny step at a time. A training collar has been purchased. But I have never seen such a tough, determined little dog. I hope we can all get over this hurdle. It could be a deal breaker if we can't. My 18 1/2 year-old cat that I have had since she was 1 day old certainly takes priority. But we are all very attached to Miss Ginger already, so that really complicates things.

She has adjusted amazingly well. Mom said Bobby told her Ginger is 5 years old, but another friend says he thinks she is 7. The lifestyle she had with Bobby is about polar opposite of what she has with us. Here she is a dog. Dogs like being dogs! She has probably done more in the last 2 weeks than she'd done in the whole year prior. We go for walks (which she loves!), car rides, road trips out to the old farm, and now to the new mini farm, to work in the mornings (the whole lot of us, we're really living the “pack” life), she sleeps in a crate in our room at night which is going terrifically, she's eating really well, and is enthusiastically playing with Declan and Piper. Knock on wood, she has not had a potty accident in the house. That is saying something for gal her age who was formerly not potty trained. Doggy doors are a great invention! She bonded quickly and strongly to me, which also surprised me since she'd lived her entire life with a solitary man. I've not gotten a lot of pics of her, but here are a few.

She likes lap naps, but I think it's because she's still a little insecure.

Sunbathing at work is another pastime. I was very worried about having 3 dogs at the little scale house, but they are all so good, and just nap away the morning for the most part. Then they stay home after lunch.

 

 

She loves to play with the hose. I guess that was a favorite form of amusement at her other house. Mom said many a time when she was talking to Bobby on the phone, he'd have to put the phone down for a minute and go outside to turn the hose on for her because she'd get very sassy and vocal and would give him no peace until he turned it on.

Well, I needed a 3rd dog like I needed a hole in the head, but she is fitting in like a piece in the puzzle I didn't know we were missing. If we can just get over the hump with the kitty issue, I think it will be all good. It's funny how things work out – Bobby is the person we bought the cabin from, and now we have his little dog who used to spend time up there when she was a puppy. Now she can go up there again, and I'm sure that would make Bobby very happy to know that we're doing the very best we can with his little house in the mountains, and his very best pal Ginger.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Goodbye Farm, It Was Good Knowin Ya

I guess the title says it all. It's been a mighty difficult last couple of weeks. Twenty seven years makes for some long, hard roots to pull out. My poor folks are completely exhausted. But at least they have everything out, and hauled to the new place. There have been a number of fiascos to overcome, but they've managed. One being, the man they had lined out for over a month prior to the agreed upon start date to fence a portion of the pasture at the new place, pulled out 2 days before he was to start. He called and said “I'm not going to make it to your place – I'm just too bushed from my last fencing job, and you can understand my side.” At that point in time my Mom had a bit of a short fuse, and she really didn't understand his side (what a way to run a business, that big knot head). Boy, did she let him have it. Needless to say, he was Johnny-on-the spot 2 days later, and fencing away at the new place. They would have had absolutely nowhere to contain their little horses had he not shown up, and I'm sure she made that abundantly clear. There are too many people who have garbage work ethics these days. Or at least it sure seems like that around here.

My folks did the lion's share of all aspects of the move themselves…..and they are no spring chickens. Far too proud to ask for, or accept help, no matter how many people offered. The way all the legal paperwork shook out at the end, with the vacate date of the owner of the home they were moving to, and they themselves tied to a move date decided by the people that bought the farm, gave them exactly 5 days to move all of their worldly possessions 15 miles from the farm to the new place. They had rented a “Pod” moving container about 3 weeks earlier, so were able to box up many things and stack in the pod, which helped. But, when you move a whole 2 story house, barn and outbuildings, and farm equipment, there is a lot more than a pod's worth. Oh my gosh, that 5 day move period was a killer. Bruce and I each took a vacation day, and also went out every evening after work; and my big little son, my brother, and his son, also pitched in as best they could (as my brother and my son both work 10 hour shifts each day with their jobs). We were loading 3 trucks (cabs and boxes), and a 2 horse trailer for each trip in – and made trip after trip….after trip. Oh Lordy. And to make matters worse, they are in the middle of a huge highway construction project between the farm and town. You could expect a 15 minute wait for a pilot car each way, both coming and going. And a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

But that part's done now, and there are just a bazillion boxes to sort and unpack at the new place, more fences to build, a new barn to build, water hydrants to install, and the list goes on. Even with all that, I believe the good Lord helped them get a place that will suit their needs; with a nice little house, just enough land to support the little horses, only a couple miles from town, and best of all, the fact that they were able to nab it in this out of control real estate market we're experiencing presently.

I took a few pictures in parting, but only a few, because I was ready to bawl and didn't want to make my folks feel bad. I don't deal well with change, and this was a mighty big one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Vacation Day Morning

Enjoying the cool morning, on my vacation day.

Sitting in my porch glider, with my biggest cup full of Java, listening to the birds sing, and watching my silly puppies play. The trees are obscuring, from my neighbors, my still being in my pj's, and I'm happily flourishing on this beautiful summer morning.

So blessed!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Celebrating Independence Day!

Isn't this just awesome!

Man made fireworks competing with Mother Nature's fireworks! This is the rodeo and fireworks celebration we have over the 4th of July in our little town every year….but with a little extra kick this particular evening. I wanted to be sure and share this wonderful photo since we're not too far out from the 4th. We do have some extremely talented folks that live in our town, and I borrowed this from Facebook to share with you all.

Here are a few more shots I took myself while just moseying around close to home, over the last couple months. Since it'll be Christmas in just a few weeks, guess I'd better share the few warm weather photos I've taken (kidding!…….but not really :-/ )

 

 

The park geese with their new broods, in varying stages – some have newer fluffy yellow babies, some are 1/2 way to looking like their parents.

 

This is the Crazy mountain range.

This is about 7 miles from the cabin. Such a pretty day it was!

About 4 miles from the cabin as you top a hill and look southerly, this is the Absaroka mountain range.

 

A golden eagle in a field near the road.

And a bald eagle on a telephone pole just above the golden.

 

 

 

Hope you all are having a nice summer, and are making the most of it!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Journaling the Cabin Progress

This is going to be a dry post. I'm putting up a ton of pre-renovation cabin pics just for documentation. Mr. Bruce has been up there the last 6 weekends working like a fiend. He also struck a deal with a too busy contractor. It is so wild in this area presently, with people buying property as quickly as it hits the market, then fixing it to flip, or live in themselves, that it is next to impossible to find a decent contractor worth his salt. All the good contractors/carpenters are lined up with work for months to come. I'm sure there are plenty of shysters out there, because when it's popping like this, those shady types are drawn in like rats to grain. But Bruce has known this fellow for years, and the man is a local that has lived here all his life. He has a good reputation, and is therefore busier than the dickens. But, after a bit of skillful finagling and bartering on my Mister's part 🙂 , the contractor said if Bruce will have everything lined out, and every bit of the lumber, cement, screws, nails, basically every and all supplies needed (including all the new Windows, and all the new flooring) sitting at the cabin ready to go, he and his crews will pop up there between their other big jobs as time allows. Anytime there is slack on the big jobs they're working on, or if there is inclement weather that they can sneak away from their outdoor projects and come up to work on indoor things for us, they'll shoot up to the cabin and try to bang out one project at a time. That's about as good as it gets right now for folks like us that have comparatively smaller projects. When it's chaotic like it is presently, in demand contractors don't want small jobs. Especially when they have to trek clear up into the mountains to do them.

Oh, good gosh, I hope this works out!! We've been burned by carpenters before, but we've also been lucky enough to have some excellent ones do big jobs for us at our house. I just want to get the big basics done on the cabin, then Bruce and I can tackle the smaller, more manageable ones. Bruce doesn't have the time, or number of men available that are needed to get windows and doors installed, the wood flooring laid, or the walls put in. He will still be doing the majority of plumbing and electrical himself, as well as all the trim and finish work; and together we can install the wood “tongue and groove” panels on the walls, sheet rock where needed (if we decide to use sheet rock in the bedroom and bathroom), building and rocking the new hearth for the wood stove, and installing whatever we decide to use for kitchen cabinetry. I can paint, wallpaper, tile, stain, make curtains, and decorate to beat sixty without any help. But for the big, heavy duty stuff, we need a crew of men to come in and hit it hard to get it done in short order.

Once the new windows are in place, we can contact the company that will sandblast the logs on the exterior (the company we looked into uses ground walnut shells to blast, then the shell dust and log dust can be left on the ground to naturally decompose). The blasting will basically sand away the discoloration and weathering, and leave a nice even tone on the logs to then stain and seal, making the exterior look brand new, hopefully.

The odd shaped windows on the top right will be eliminated. Then, all along the top, left to right under the pitch, will be framed in and probably covered with shakes, so it will be symmetrical.

 

This bay window is being replaced with a picture window. Same width and height, but flat in the wall.

 

The circular vent to the left of the window will come out as the furnace is moving to the hallway, resulting in dreaded log patching.

 

A larger window will replace the bathroom window, shown center, which will require log cutting and patching.

 

The kitchen window, left of door, has to be raised 1 1/2 logs higher, and the porch window, far left, will be eliminated. More log cutting, and filling. Not fun.

 

 

Porch floor must be laid, and an end wall built, since there will only be stairs to the front now.

 

 

This is the enclosed portion of the front porch. The 2 windows shown will be eliminated, and a big walk-in storage closet will be built, floor to ceiling across this whole end of the porch. There isn't much room for storage in the living area of the cabin, so we want to be smart with this space and squeeze every square inch to make it useful for hanging, boxing, shelving, leaning, and stacking. The window on the floor to the left came out of our kitchen at home when we remodeled and put in the giant picture window. This will be installed to the right of the front door entering the porch. We bought a nice, solid wood door with glass upper from Craigslist, saving probably $300 vs buying a brand new one. We got bids from 3 different companies on the window package we need. Only 6 windows have to be purchased, and I was shocked at the $5,500 price tag from the first company. The second company came in at $4,200. These bids were for aluminum clad wooden windows. We got a bid for vinyl windows next, which was much more reasonable (less than a third of the first bid), albeit not quite the quality we were hoping for – but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a cabin, not a full time residence. And we need to be careful not to dump in more money than we would ever be able to recoup on the little place. Having to build the new foundation, and crane the cabin to it, put a major dent in the budget right off the bat. We have to be very careful with our spending, being mindful to get the most bang for our buck. There is a very long list of things yet to do, and after the shock of the windows bids, we will have to be extra diligent in searching out the best buys. That shouldn't be hard with the decorating/furnishings (since I'm the queen of rummage saling ;-0) but building materials are a different kettle of fish.

As for the inside…..

We do have a plan roughed out. Bruce is wrangling in the plumbing right now. We're having a heck of a time trying to find the best options for hot water. We don't particularly want to go the heater tank route because, unless you plan to keep the propane furnace at 48 degrees all winter (which would be very costly) to prevent water in the tank and pipes from freezing, you must drain and winterize the tank each autumn. That means no hot water if you hope to snowmobile in for weekends in the winter. There are many tankless, hot water on demand options available, but high altitude, extreme temps, and not being there daily, really complicate the decision. I know there must be a good option because I've seen tv shows about hunting camps in Alaska where guides bring folks to a shut down cabin, walk in, flip a few switches, and they're fully functional for a week or so. They leave after minimal winterizing, basically in suspension til next trip in, which they do often, all winter long. We've researched on the internet; I even got a year subscription to Cabin Living magazine to look into that and other things, hoping to make the most informed and correct choices. We surely don't want to dump a bunch of $$ into things, just to have them be dysfunctional and have to be replaced for even more $$. Bruce has checked with other folks in our cabin community, and it seems bottom line up there is water heater tank – bite the bullet and leave the heat running; or rough it – winterize and do without hot water in the winter months. I'm sure there has to be a better, more practical option. We'll keep after it…if nothing else, Mr. Bruce is the prize winner in persistence.

 

The blue tape lines are wall placement markers for bedroom and bathroom. Bigger bed and bath than what was there before, but still mighty tight!

 

Such a dreadful mess - makes me want to pull my hair! Doesn't bother Bruce in the least.

All I know is summer is fleeting, and boy, do we have a lot on our plate! Between work schedules, my folks moving, trying to get as much as possible done at the cabin in the short season we have to do it, and regular old house chores and maintenance, we could all stand a few more hours in the day to be sure!

Anyhoo, not whining….even if it does sound like it! All these things are very good “problems” to have! And not problems at all! We just need to stay organized, and step it up as best we can.

Meanwhile, Pinterest is my friend – it gives me so much to aspire to!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Farm(s) Pending

This might well be the new “mini” farm.

Quite the view. Six and three quarters acres (80% less land than the farm), but just enough land to suffice. The house is about 1/3 less square footage to have to keep tidy and maintain. Close to town. Neighbors, but not right on top of you like living in town. Irrigated. These are the pluses.

The downside is; no barn or shop for hay and equipment storage. No small shelters for the little horses. Not a fence on the place. Close to the highway, so the 5 remaining barn cats coming with will have to be contained in some type of little building with a tall, screened in outdoor area, to keep them safe. (Being barn cats, they have always roamed free at the farm, so this will be a tough adjustment for them.)

These all are the realtors pictures. The inside is lovely, but quite small (compared to my folks farmhouse). But, that's all part and parcel of downsizing. It was a lucky break to have been able to JUMP on this place hours after it was listed. My folks tied it up as quickly as was humanly possible. The realtor had multiple, multiple inquiries in the days following the listing of this property. It's going to be a lot of work to get it ready to house all the critters, but that's part of the give and take. The land is pretty much a blank canvas. They are already contacting fencing companies, contractors to build outbuildings, moving companies, etc., just to get on the lists. I mentioned before how crazy wild it is right now with real estate in this area, and all types of companies involved are booked up weeks to months in advance.

So, God willing, it's upward and onward. Real estate dealings are are fragile and fickle; fingers crossed this will go thru without a hitch. I guess now would be the time to start stock piling super potent vitamins and coffee….the whole family's going to need them to get this show on the road!!

I'll take a minute now for some more sappy and sentimental sharing of farm pics. The gardens are so beautiful right now, due to my good little Mom's relentless efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Clover, the tamest barn kitty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Farmward – Ho!

The saga with my folk's farm continues. It looks like this time the sale might be the real deal – possibly. It's been a long drawn out process, drug out since last fall. A couple with 4 little kids want to buy it “for sure”……..contingent upon them selling at least one of three properties they own. And then comes all the hoop jumping and red tape with appraisals, inspections of every sort, what is included in the sale, etc., etc. At least these people don't expect my folks to include furniture, pictures, garden decorations, clothes, shoes, and the family bible in the sale, like the last yahoos did. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much!) This potential buyer did want them to throw in the backhoe with the sale, which may, or may not, be considered. Depends on what sort of place my folks can find to move to. If they have to start from scratch with a place with no fences or outbuildings, my Dad will need all his equipment to get the job done. Hopefully a place will come up not needing everything from soup to nuts to get ready, before they can move in. I cannot tell you how absolutely insane the real estate market is in this area right now; very little to be had, and a king's ransom in pricing for what is available. We've all been searching like mad, trying to catch things that come on the market immediately, as homes and land are snapped up, literally, within hours after being listed.

I stopped at the farm on the way back from the cabin the other day. I feel like you can't soak in enough of the place, when you know the chance is great that it will belong to someone else soon.

 

My Mom brought me upstairs to see this cactus type plant that is in full bloom.

 

I got to visit all her babies while we were upstairs.

 

 

And get an upper view of the gardens from the bedroom balcony.

 

It will be a big adjustment for the little horses to have only a very few acres to live on. Hopefully it won't bother them too much. They are an elderly lot; the oldest one being about 34 years old, the youngest I think around 22. There are 15 left, and my folks just want to keep them fed and happy til they go to the happy pasture in the sky. Their whole house search is revolving around finding a place where it will work for their old horses, and old barn kitties. Some people call that crazy, I think it's mighty admirable.

 

From last fall

 

Hopefully the geese will get to stay on the farm, as many of them are 30+ years old

It's a beautiful place, and I sure hope the new people will love and care for it as much as my folks have. It will be nice for their little kids to grow up there; the perfect setting for playing and memory making.

As stressful as it is, I guess we just have to remember that the good Lord has a plan for us all, and we need to keep the faith and move forward knowing it's in His hands.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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R is for Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable, but is most often put to use like a fruit. For most folks, it is a love it or hate it situation – not too much of an in between. I love it's bright, tart goodness, and have quite a collection of recipes so that all that grows at my house is not wasted. It is tricky to cook with, because it holds so much water. I've turned out several pies that were either absolutely water logged, or so tight they were rubbery, by under or over estimating the amount of thickener needed. It's hard to get that just right consistency; glossy and soft – not too runny, not too firm and bouncy.

I've had a bountiful crop so far, due to the cool (cold!), wet conditions rhubarb is partial to.

This is what remained after harvesting about 2/3 of what has popped up so far this Spring. More will come now that it's been thinned a bit. YAY 😉

I seem to have better luck making bars, rather than pies. With the filling not so deep as it is in pies, it tends to thicken more consistently. So, I drug out all the gear, and a “go-to” recipe.

Here is the recipe I used, that is a compilation of several I've tinkered with to make it work for me.

First, the best crust I've ever had. The recipe came out of a little paper back church fund raiser cook book I bought when I was a teenager and kept in my cedar hope chest til I moved out on my own. I've used it until it is rag-tag and falling apart over the years.

3 cups white flour, 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening, 3/4 cup salted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water, 1 egg lightly beaten, 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening and butter. Add ice water 1 T at a time til mixture is crumbly but starts to come together a bit. In a cup, add the vinegar to the egg, mix and pour into flour mixture. Stir and press til a ball forms, adding small sprinkles of flour as you go, so it doesn't stick to the bowl. Place dough ball in a bowl in fridge 15-20 minutes to rest.

Second, measure out 7 cups chopped rhubarb into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups white sugar, 2 rounded Tablespoons tapioca powder (what I used was called tapioca flour; both work, and are probably pretty close to the same thing), 3 rounded Tablespoons white flour, and half of a 3 ounce package of red gelatin (I prefer strawberry, but any red works and looks best.) Add sugar mixture to rhubarb and coat well.

Get your crust dough from the fridge and roll out on a well floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thick. I transferred the whole kit and caboodle to a large, rectangular baking pan, covering the bottom and up the sides. Press lightly into corners and on sides. Cut the excess from what hangs over the sides. Gently pour rhubarb mixture onto crust in pan. I loosened the crust from the sides and folded it over the rhubarb, galette style. It keeps the crust from getting too brown on the sides. Since I try not to waste anything, I rolled the leftover crust into long skinny ropes and placed them on top. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350, and continue baking 30 to 35 minutes longer.

It came out just right; not runny, not rigid or rubbery. The crust was a golden brown. I guess you could drizzle a glaze, but I think it's plenty sweet without.

We gobbled it up 🙂

Tomorrow I'll make rhubarb freezer jam. I love being on vacation!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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