Monday, December 5, 2016

A Moos-t Lovely Drive

My husband and I had taken a drive up one of our mountain logging roads this past week on a cold and clear fall afternoon.  Our intent was to park our truck and hike up one of the trails.

As we pulled up to park, my husband looked up the trail we were about to hike on, and this who we saw.


We were under observation!


Quietly we returned her gaze, and just watched.  We were about 300 yards from her.


I was so happy that I had my camera with its telephoto lens with me.  I was able to zoom in and out and take these pictures easily, even though she quite a distance from us.


I was amazed at how still she was as she watched us for a good five minutes or more, as we had this staring contest.  We stayed close to the truck in case she changed her mind about us.  I began to video her at this point:


And as soon as I turned the video on, you can see the other moose come out of the brush.  Apparently she wanted her moment of fame too, lol!  We were very surprised to see the second moose, and at the distance we were from them, at first it was hard to tell whether it was a calf or another moose.  We settled on the idea that they probably were both yearlings, as the first one was not a very big moose either.


After a while, the first moose we originally saw broke her gaze from us, and wandered into the bushes and then just continued watching us.



Finally, she gave us one last look as she turned to walk into the brush, as if to reassure herself that we were no threat, or perhaps to sternly remind us not to follow her!  And of course, we were just so happy to keep our distance, and let them go on.  Our hike for the day had suddenly been cancelled due to a moos-t lovely encounter, and we were very thankful to have saw her and the second moose who joined her while we stood by our truck, rather than out there on the trail!  God's provision is always perfect!



After the two moose left us, we turned our attention to the beautiful scenery around us.  The hills and mountains had a touch of snow on them.


I never tire of the glorious shades of blue and purple of the mountains.


We looked down below us, and all around to see if we could spot the moose as they moved on, but we never saw them again.



Soon the evening shadows were falling, and it was time to get back down the mountain before the darkness settled in.


What a blessing it is to have these encounters with the wildlife that abounds around us.  And how thankful we were that we didn't meet them out on the trail!  We were able to fully enjoy our 10 minutes with the moose as we watched each other.  And you can guarantee that if we go to hike that trail again, we will be moos-t careful about who may be lurking in the bushes!




Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving was a sweetly blessed time this year.  Dear friends of ours invited us to their home for to celebrate Thanksgiving with them for the first time in their new home.


The table was lovingly set with china passed down from her grandmother's collection.


All the abundance of food for our family included the traditional Thanksgiving favorites.  She made homemade sourdough rolls, and fresh homemade butter too!



A true feast of thanksgiving, with happily stuffed bellies!


But I think the one who enjoyed the meal most was our friends' daughter who upon finishing all the food on her plate, thought she could do better by licking the plate clean.


Is there any better thanks for a Thanksgiving meal than this? {smiles}


After dinner we went outside to stretch our legs and do a little practice shooting at their outdoor shooting range.  All of us got to try our hand at the target practice!  Afterwards we came back inside for hot cocoa or tea around their cozily blazing wood fire, and we enjoyed a lovely evening of good fellowship, and a blessed time together.


Since I cooked the turkey for the meal, after carving it I placed the bones back in my grandmother's roaster, and added a couple of teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and slowly simmered the bones covered in water for about 24 hours on the stove top.


16 cups of rich turkey bone broth ready to go into bottles.


This amazing bone broth is full of flavor, and packed with nutrients.  My family has made bone broth long before it became popular to do so.  I remember my mother using this same roasting pan and cooking the bones in water overnight and then making soup out of the bones.  Amazing isn't it, how family traditions that our family always enjoyed and never even realized the health benefits to it!  Now that it has become quite popular to make bone broth (visit this website here to read more about the benefits of bone broth), I take joy in continuing in the tradition that that our family has been doing for many, many years.


One of our family's favorite meals after Thanksgiving is turkey soup, made with this bone broth.


It is just a simple soup, chock full of potatoes, carrots, corn, and broccoli with just a bit of salt and pepper needed to round out the flavor.  Served up with a platter of my iron skillet biscuits,  the joy of Thanksgiving continues to bless our tummies for another meal or two!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Mom's Best Apple Pie

Is there any more favorite pie in America than apple pie? 

Well, I don't know the exact statistics for the answer to that question, but I do know this one thing. My mother makes the best apple pie you've ever tasted.  {smiles} 


This is truth in our family's opinion at least, and I won't argue with you if your mom makes the best apple pie {grin} Truly apple pie is near and dear to all of our hearts, I think.  But if you will allow me, I'd like to share with you my mother's best recipe for apple pie.  I think you might love it just as much as we do. {smiles}


The trick to my mom's pie is right here in this little pot!  You mix the sugar, butter spices and a bit of water together, and bring it to a boil, and then cool slightly. 


While the sugar solution is cooling, peel and slice the apples ~ about 4-5 cups of apples is perfect for a 9" pie.


Roll out your favorite pie crust and place it into the 9" pie plate.  Add a layer of apples in the bottom of the pan, and then drizzle 1/3 of the sugar mixture over the apples.


Continue with two more layers of sugar and spice mixture over the apples.


And you may have to refrain yourself from eating the apples just like this! {smiles}


Here is Mom's recipe published in their church cookbook.


Just out of the oven...


The melting together of the sugar, spices and butter that coats the apples served warm from the oven with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream becomes a marriage made in sugar's own heaven.



And of course, don't forget a hot cup of cinnamon tea as the perfect accompaniment to this delight.


I like to make my own cinnamon tea... it is as easy as can be!



To a simmering pot of water on the stove (about 4 cups of water) add 1-2 sticks cinnamon, 4-5 whole cloves,1-2 anise, a tablespoon of sugar, a dash of nutmeg, and a splash of vanilla.  Simmer until your house begins to smell like cinnamon tea... and then you know it is ready.  (An added bonus is that your house smells as good as the tea tastes!) You can add cream and sugar if desired, but I like mine just as it is.  






On a cold wet wintry day, this hot cinnamon tea, and tender apple pie served up as an afternoon treat is the perfect way to enjoy the weather, from the inside looking out.



The snow lasted on the ground for an hour or so and then it was gone.  Just a sprinkle to let us know more is on its way!

And while the taste of winter is on our doorstep, I want to share some pictures of fall that my  precious mother took while she was home last month visiting her mother and family in northeastern Canada.   May they serve up one last hurrah for fall!


Oh be still my heart!  What joy to see the beauty of fall in all its splendor through the eyes of my mother's camera.


Lovely views of the rolling farmland with the coat of many colors adorning the treed hills beyond.


Beautiful colors of the fall that was incredibly lovely this year.  Many people said this year in the northeast was the most vibrant it had been in years, and I have to agree.


And here we have the most beautiful collection of fall's bountiful beauty!  Can you see who is hiding in this picture?


If you guessed my beautiful mother, you are right!  She and some of her nieces went out and played in the leaves.  The girls piled the leaves up around her, and then took some fun pictures.  I will treasure this picture always of my mother (her face is blurred to protect privacy). She knows how to have fun!   My heart was so thrilled and overjoyed to hear of the joy she experienced, enjoying the beauty of the falling leaves and having such a special time with her nieces.  I wish I could have been there too :)  We were blessed to enjoy a beautiful fall here too, but it was a special joy for me to see the glorious colors from up north too.

Below is the recipe for Mom's Best Apple Pie, and Cinnamon Tea.



MOM'S BEST APPLE PIE
Pastry for 9" double pie (recipe below)
Peeled, sliced apples (about 4-5 cups)
3/4 cup white or brown sugar (I used brown sugar)
3 Tablespoons water
1 tsp flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix sugar, water, flour, butter and spices together in small pot.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool.  Prepare apples.  Place bottom pie crust in pan, and put 1/3 apples in pan.  Pour 1/3 sugar mixture over the apples, and repeat with two layers of sugar and apples.  Place pie crust over all and finish edges of pie.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (or until apples are fork tender). Let cool for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

MOM'S BEST PIE CRUST
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups lard (1 pound)
1 egg
4 tsp vinegar
ice water

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Blend lard into flour mixture until mixture resembles small peas.  Beat egg in measuring cup, add vinegar, and enough ice water to make 3/4 cup.  Blend vinegar mixture into flour a little at a time until well mixed, adding only enough liquid until dough clings together.  Gather into a ball, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before rolling out.  Makes 6 pie crusts.

CINNAMON TEA

1-2 cinnamon sticks (broken in half to fit into pan)
4-5 cups water
5 whole cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all together in small pot, and let simmer until the house smells like cinnamon.  Can be served with cream and sugar, or as is.  Enjoy with apple pie :)





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Afternoon November Skies

November is a transition month, where it is not quite fall, and not quite winter, and while the glorious colors of October have faded, there is one time of day in November when you can find a vibrancy of color that might just cause the beauty of October to take step off the stage.



 Late afternoon, about 3:00 or so now... 



There is a show in the skies that you don't want to miss..


Annie and I walk now in the late afternoon, we don't want to be late...


When the glory of the Lord is in display in the skies


I want to bask in the delight of it all. 


We have walked most every afternoon this week, and each day, 
the creative skies have enraptured my heart. 


Like a scroll written across the skies, the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. 


Barren branches glorified in billows of color. 


Blackened silhouettes allow the backdrop to take center stage. 


Magnificence in the skies, unparalleled elegance. 


While trees and their glorious colors 
dazzled us with their fashion show in October, 
now the skies take center stage. 


Pink fog!  Ohh! 


With the skies emboldened,
 I had to go where my feet could not
And my rain-studded rear view mirror
caught a glimpse of the brilliance of the skies. 


 November's late afternoon brilliance.  Enraptured, words escape my lips, of praise. 


I quietly sat down by the river, as the last royal colors faded into the darkness. 


Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard,
 that the everlasting God, the LORD, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth, 
fainteth not, neither is weary? 


There is no searching of his understanding.  
He giveth power to the faint; 
and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
and the young men shall utterly fall:  


But they that wait upon the LORD 
shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary; 
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31


Is there weariness in your soul today? 


There is solace in knowing the ONE 
who orchestrates this world with precision and order, 
Who cares just as much about you today
as the world obedient to His care.
  Lift your eyes to Him, trust Him
Praise Him
Cast your cares on Him. 
For in this turmoil-ridden November, 
the Lord has shown me
In Him, ALL is well. 


As I sip a cup of cinnamon tea in my mismatched little tea party, 
and reflect on all I have seen
it gives me faith and hope for the future.  

Peace, great peace from above 
settles itself in my heart, 
 I am refreshed.  
All is well.  
In HIM.