Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Apple Pie in a Cake Pan

I did something mind blowing the other day.


I've made lots of apple pies....but this pie.

This pie has changed everything.

Pies don't have to be made in little round pans.

They don't have to spill over in your oven and make a mess.

They can be made in a 9X13 cake pan.


I don't know what gave me the idea to do it.  I was just rolling out pie crust minding my own business and suddenly I rolled out a big piece and put it in the cake pan.  I did it so it was big enough to go right up the sides.

Then I peeled and sliced up a ridiculous amount of apples.  I knew that this pie was not going to run over....I could just load it up as much as I wanted....and I did.  I mixed some sugar and cinnamon in with those apples and I piled it all up in the pan.

I didn't have anymore crust to put on top so I just made a crumb topping....flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.  It's the topping that I put on a dutch apple pie.

Then I baked it in the oven just like a regular apple pie.

Only I left it in a little bit longer than I should have because I needed to drive Grady to the milk barn and pick Johanna up after band practise.

But it didn't was still good.

This makes one HUGE  pie.  Which is perfect.....because otherwise I need to make a few pies.  We had leftovers with this pie.....simply unheard of around here.

It sliced up perfectly.  It was like you were eating cake....only it was pie.

It has changed my world.  I will be doing this again.


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Too many birds.

Jack has several different breeds of hens.  He has been going to birds sales for the last few years and he has quite a collection of interesting things out there.

He also loves to hatch out...he's got an incubator but lately he just gets the bird to sit and hatch them out themselves.  He knows which girls will sit....and he'll collect a bunch of different eggs from different birds and then put them all under the girl that will sit.

So, he had eggs hatching in the spring and then more just hatched out in September.

The trouble with all these hatch outs is that he ends up with roosters.  So. many. roosters.

Last year he took them to the bird sale and some guy came along and decided to buy them all from him.  He wanted a yard full of roosters....just for fun.  Suddenly Jack was in the business of making rooster dreams come true.  I had no idea that people would want a yard full of roosters.

Roosters don't just crow 'cock a doodle doo' in the morning.  They scream like someone is being murdered at all hours.  Very early in the dark of the morning.  And at two in the afternoon.  It's non stop.  Everyday.

And we have a lot of roosters at the moment.

And somehow we missed the bird sale this fall.  We thought it was 'the next weekend' but it was that day....and we had missed it.

So Jack went out and took lots of photos of his birds and I put an ad on kijiji for him.

And now I've been dealing with all the questions about the birds....only I know nothing about birds.

These birds people are serious about their birds.

One woman came to pick up some hens and when she arrived I just told Jack to go out and deal with her.  He was the one selling the birds.  But he came back to the house and said that she needed to talk to me.  I made small talk with her and apologized for our dog sniffing her the way dogs sniff strangers and then she just started talking on and on....and I had no idea if she was talking about breeds of birds or dogs.  And then she left and I asked Jack....was she talking about birds or dogs?

Birds. mom. BIRDS.

Emails asking about breeds and what's left.

And can you sex the chicks?


The emails were a little awkward.  But I kept on.

One gentleman came to buy some birds and then he asked about sexing the chicks.  I told him that we don't do that.  I don't know how.  He said that if you have a really good hen that she will sex them for you.

I was so confused that I couldn't even ask more about that.  I just wanted the conversation to be over.

So...what's left Jack?  Someone wanted to know.

He said...

Roosters....the buffs are all gone.  But there is a jungle fowl rooster, a speckled Sussex, and a golden laced Wyandotte and some other bantam roosters that are crossbred.

What?  Can you repeat that?

And he repeated it several times...because he was saying it way to fast and I had no idea what he was saying.  and I needed to actually type it...spell it....for a stranger.

And then of course....the person wanted to know if one was a standard or a bantam.

And I had to wait until Jack came back in the house to get the answer.

But I'm learning a lot about birds.

Hopefully next year he won't miss the bird sale.  And that guy wanting the yard full of roosters will return.

I wish I could find that guy.  He would solve all my bird problems.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Pills. For a six year old.

Lydia was still not feeling well this afternoon.  She has been fevered off and on since Wednesday night....and now it was Saturday.  Her stomach had turned a few times.  She was blaming it on the bone juice at the library party....but I figured there was more to it than that!  She really hadn't eaten much but she certainly wasn't suffering.  She had moments of 'being normal' and then she would need to rest again.

But when I asked her to please eat a part of one of her favourite bagels....and she refused....saying that her throat was just too sore....I then realized that she may have strep.  Then I looked in her throat...and knew for sure.......we needed to go to emerg and see a doctor.

She freaked.

Was he going to give her a needle?  Would it hurt?  What would happen?  Would I be beside her?

I had to settle her down...and get her moving.

We checked in and we were given a room right away.  She had been given a hospital bracelet to wear and it was when we were waiting on the doctor when she looked down at it and said....

HOW do they know my middle name?

She was really on edge.  Waiting for the absolute worst to happen.

She thought she might puke so I grabbed the garbage can and set it close by.

The doctor looked in her ears and her throat....and told me that it was indeed strep.  He wrote out the prescription for penicillin and said to make sure and get it in liquid. 

Of course....a six year old can't swallow a pill.

We went to the pharmacy and I requested it in liquid.

Then we went out and sat in the truck to wait....because she said that the smell in there was going to make her puke.

We went in to pick up the penicillin and I was surprised to see it as a bottle of pills.


Good grief I said....she can't swallow a pill.  The lady was surprised.  Really?  She suggested I break it up and make her swallow it in little pieces.

She has strep throat....she can't even chew and swallow her favourite bagel.

The pharmacist told me that I would have to crush it and put it into something...pudding...jam?  Penicillin in liquid form has been on back order for years.  It is unavailable.  This is all she could give me.

What was I to do?  We drove home.  I wanted to cry.

When we got home I got out a pill and crushed it.....added a little strawberry jam....put a frozen strawberry on per Lydia's request.  The entire time Lydia was going into hysterics.  She said she could not eat that.  I told her that she would have too.

And I was thinking that I would have to go through this 29 more times....HOW?  This was ridiculous.

She put the spoon in her mouth and then gaged.  And puked....all over the kitchen floor.  Everything that was in her stomach.

And Grady saw her....and so he had to puke too.  Luckily, he ran outside.

This was ridiculous.

I got on the phone and told the pharmacist my problem.  There was puke everywhere.  Should I go back to emerg?  What should I do?

She said that she would handle it and call me back.

And she did.

And I drove all the way back to town to get liquid amoxicillin.

Because a six year old can't swallow a pill.

At least mine can't.


Friday, 23 October 2015


I put Sophie and Lydia in an after school art class and they came home with these....

I LOVE them!

This class has really gotten them back into art....and I love that.  Last Saturday they just wanted to sit and draw....but they wanted direction.  They wanted ideas.

I found this blog called 'Color It Like you MEAN it''s here.  She had some great ideas and we copied them...

scary haunted houses...

cats on the fence....look at those tails!

a landscape with a field of pumpkins....

figuring out how to draw those lines on pumpkins....

a scarecrow....Lydia drew this!

They also started working on Remembrance Day posters to enter in the Legion contest.

Lydia did a black and white one.

And Sophie is still working on her colour entry.

Their artwork makes my heart smile.


Thursday, 22 October 2015

The bone juice.

Today is my day.

That's what I thought.

I've been busy at the farmers' market every week since the end of June.  And I've been making cakes.  And driving kids around.  And welcoming guests at the farmhouse.  The calendar is always full.  FULL.

The market had it's final day on Thanksgiving weekend.  And I was a wee bit excited to be done.

Then I was asked to make 540 muffins. for yesterday.  So I did that.

And this cake.

For a Halloween party at the library.

for yesterday.

I did it. 

I did it all.

And now there is a little lull in my calendar.  So I figured that today would be my day.  Finally.

I was thinking that maybe I would go and pick out new frames at the eye doctor's.  Because my glasses are six years old and a wee bit scratched.  I went to the eye doctor back in July and he mentioned that I was probably having trouble driving at night....oh yes.  maybe.  It's all those scratches.  But I couldn't get new glasses that day because he put drops in my eyes that dilated my pupils so big that I couldn't actually see.  But I drove home anyway because it was the day of Sophie's birthday party and I had no time to waste.

So I've been waiting for a day to go and get new frames.

I thought today would be the day.

But at 3:30 am Lydia came rushing into the very very angry.  She gets angry when she is sick.  I knew right away that she was sick.  Flushed and angry and 3:30am.  I took her to the bathroom....gave her some advil....a cold cloth for her head....and asked her to please go back to sleep.  And she did.

Then at 5 am the alarm went off.  Terry was heading to saw wood for the day.  He had forgotten to ask me to pack him a lunch for the day.  Would you?....he asked.  Of course, my dear.  I'd love to.  make sandwiches. right now.

And I did.

Then I let Lydia sleep while the others got ready for the bus.  And she slept until 10am.  She woke up flushed and angry.  She is sick.  Complaining about her terrible headache and that bone juice that she drank at the library party last night.

The bone juice.  She'll never drink that again.

It's not my day for the new frames.  Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe not.

The busyness of life never seems to stop. or even slow down.

But honestly....I love it.


Monday, 19 October 2015

The First Flakes of Snow.

Fall is here.

We've been digging potatoes and plowing the fields.

I have been making butternut squash soup and chicken soup.

And roasting butternut squash and all sorts of squash....that grew in our garden.  It's so so good.

We had a skift of snow this past weekend.

My facebook feed was flooded with people posting photos and complaining about how horrible it was outside. our house....

Yes.  Snow is exciting.

Lydia frantically ran outside when she noticed it falling.  She was screaming that she was going to catch all of those beautiful flakes on her tongue.

I love her.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

One of My Favourite Places.

The girls and I took a walk on Thanksgiving Monday.

My three favourite girls.

To one of my favourite places.

Our maple bush.

It's magical at this time of year.

I loved the sound of the 'crunch' as we walked.

The girls gathered a bag of treasures.

And debated about the best place to cross the water...

Johanna found this piece of old curly bark....

right near this was as if he had just lost his hair!


Monday, 5 October 2015

Metcalfe Fair 2015

Grady worked so very hard all summer with his steer.  Actually....he had been working with it since last Christmas.

This wasn't a trained steer that we purchased.  This steer needed to be halter broken.

He was out washing it nearly every evening..... sometimes until dark.

And feeding it.  He purchased the feed himself.  SO. MUCH. FEED.

He also purchased a wash stand/chute.   And a fan....that got hit by lightning.  So he bought a second fan.  He even hired a guy to come and trim one of the hooves because it just wasn't perfect.

This was his 4-H animal for the year.  It was his show animal.  He showed it at the Cobden Fair

and the Renfrew Fair. 

Everyone would tell him how beautiful his steer was.

It was his market steer headed for the auction at the Metcalfe Fair. 

The Metcalfe Fair is Eastern Ontario's Regional Fair.  It was once the Ottawa Winter Fair.  It was the most important fair at one time for all the local 4-H kids in Renfrew County.  If your steer could make it to the Ottawa Winter Fair....that was pretty amazing.

Grady liked the idea of having his steer go to this fair....even though no one else in Renfrew County takes a steer there.  We were sort of the 'outsiders' when it came to the steer show.

We knew that there were only 10 steers in the sale.  Grady could handle a 10th place ribbon and a handshake.  We were all ready for anything....or so we thought.

But for some unknown reason they decided to split the steers into two 'classes'.  There would be a lighter class and a heavier class.  Ten steers is not a lot of steers.  A judge can easily handle placing ten steers.

Grady's steer weighed in at 1550 pounds.  It was the heaviest of them all.  He was placed in the heavier class....with three other steers.

The lighter class was judged first.  There were six of them....and four were chosen to return to the championship round.

The heavier class had two chosen to advance to the championship round.  Grady wasn't one of them.

That was fine.  We weren't there to win.

There were six steers in the championship round.  They were all placed and awarded ribbons.  They got handshakes.

Grady and the other three 4-H members didn't get to return to the ring.

They didn't get ribbons.  They didn't even get a handshake.

That's not what 4-H is about.

They didn't get anything.  No recognition for all of their hard work.

I believe that you don't build yourself up by putting someone else down.  I will not get into the politics of the Metcalfe Fair....but there were several questions I had that had no answers.

And I will not be returning.