Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cranberry Harvest Video

I wanted to share with you a video that was recently filmed at my brother Larry and Paul's cranberry bog on Rte. 58, Plympton, MA. The video ( by Skimmer Videos, Plymouth, MA) was taken with a camera that was mounted to a remote control helicopter.
video taken at my brothers bog of the cranberry harvest  

Our cranberry harvest continues, and so far this harvest season which started mid September, the weather has been gorgeous with the exception of a couple of rainy days.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Good smells coming from the kitchen

chocolate cupcakes w tip top filling2 Chocolate cupcakes with Tip Top Filling
I don't bake like I use to, because it is torture when you are dieting. So, when I do bake I bring what I have made to family members. I use to make chocolate cupcakes filled with Tip Top filling for my sons all the time when they were growing up, as they loved them.  ( If I made yellow cupcakes, I would fill them with Lemon pie filling that I would cook up, let cool and fill the center of the cupcakes, as my son's loved both kinds)
Today, I was lazy and used a box of chocolate cake mix instead of making my cupcakes from scratch. After the 24 cupcakes were cooled, I made the Tip Top filling which is light, fluffy and not really sweet, but very good.
There use to be a Tip Top Bakery that sold bread and pastries in the stores. I think someone must have made a knock of version of the Tip Top filling that was in their cupcakes. I know my mom made this filling when we were growing up, and I have for years.

Tip Top Filling
2  1/2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup of milk
Cook the flour and milk in a small saucepan until it thickens like a pudding. Cool completely.
When the flour/milk mixture is cool-add in a bowl with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, dash of salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat well.
Then add 1/2 cup solid white shortening
1/2 cup margarine=1 stick
Beat ingredients with mixer until mixture is fluffy.

I usually cut a circle into the top of each cupcake, then remove the circle and add Tip Top filling with a teaspoon to each cupcake and then replace the circle of cake on top of the filling.
Today, I did something different, I put a number 12 Wilton cake decorating tip into a disposable cake decorating bag, and pushed the tip as far as it would go into the bag near the point of the bag. I then cut off the tip of the bag. I filled the bag with the Tip Top filling and pushed the tip part way into the cupcakes and squeezed until I could see the filling at the top of the cupcake. Don't squeeze to hard or the cupcake will split. I know, because that is what happened to the first cupcake that I filled.  After filling the cupcake, squeeze a bit more filling on the top of the cupcake to cover the hole.
I also use the Tip Top filling  when I make a chocolate roll... see my blog post December 11, 2011. Chocolate Roll with Tip Top filling

I've been craving chicken and dumplings, so this morning I decided to make it for our supper tonight. I made enough for not only our supper, but also for my parents, my aunt and my son/daughter in law and Bella.
chicken and dumplings for my parents

My recipe for chicken and dumplings is very easy, and the chicken mixture is the same as what I use when I make chicken pot pies or chicken soup.
I start with a large dutch oven...1 large box of lower sodium chicken broth, cut up 2 medium onions, 4 stalks celery, 3  carrots, several potatoes, a little ground pepper, 1 quart cooked cut up chicken. ( I often use the precooked chicken that you can buy at the market, as it saves a lot of time)  You can add a little sage or thyme if you like, but I don't. Cook the vegetable/chicken/broth mixture until the vegetables are soft.  The broth will thicken I will add more broth or some water, because the dumplings will soak up a lot of the soups liquid.
For dumpling I  use the dumpling recipe that is on side of the Bisquick baking mix box.

Stir 2 cups Bisquick baking mix and 2/3 cup of milk until a soft dough forms. Drop by the spoonful onto boiling stew or soup. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the pot of dumplings/stew and cook for 10 minutes longer.

If you make one of these recipes let me know how you liked it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Yard sale and thrift store recent finds

sad irons 10.13.13 on chair pad 2 vintage but rusty sad irons that I found in an antique/thrift store, in nearby Buzzard's Bay.The sad irons need to be sanded and then blackened. I love old sad irons and they make for wonderful door stops.
sad irons 10.13.13 on princess treadle sewing machine my newly purchased sad irons resting on top of a lovely crocheted scarf that are on my Princess sewing machine cover. I paid 50 cents for the scarf and $5.00 each for the sad irons. The irons had been marked $10, so I was very happy with my finds.

Have you ever stopped when out driving when you saw items at the curb with a free sign? Most times I just slow down and look, but if something catches my eye, then I will stop and get out to take a look.
Earlier this fall, a neighbor up the street had a huge pile of items by the curb with a free sign and I stopped to check out some chairs that were there. The chairs weren't any good, but poking thru the boxes I found a cute chicken cookie jar, a wire chicken container (I picked those up for Steven and Robin) and a bag of aluminum cookie cutter (which I kept for myself). I love the old aluminum cookie cutters and in the bag I found that all but 2 of the cookie cutters were one's I didn't already have.I already had some of the diamond and club shapes. Yeah!!!
 cookie cutters aluminum1 In the bag were...4 rabbits, lion, Scottie dog, camel, 2 horses, club and diamond shape, and what I thought was a baker. I posted pictures on Facebook and a friend wrote to tell me it was a troll and not a baker, and she had never seen another one before I posted mine. She had only seen the one that her mother passed along to her.  I had never seen the troll and when I did a Google search I couldn't believe what people were asking for this cookie cutter.
cookie cutter mirro troll click on website...aluminum troll cookie cutter set
decorating booklet that was part of the set.
troll doll decorating booklet troll doll decorating booklet w recipe decorating tips
I found it interesting that the Wrigley's chewing gum company offered this cookie cutter decorating set.
In the bag with the cookie cutters I found the troll cookie cutter and the aluminum decorating tube and tips that had been part of the kit, but no booklet.
cookie cutters aluminum4 my aluminum cookie cutters, biscuit cutter and old aluminum decorating tube. Some have wooden knobs for handles.

On the way home from Buzzard's Bay, on route 28, I decided to stop at the Salvation Army store. I don't usually find anything there, but what the heck, I was going right by. I had been looking for a few months to find 4 used maple kitchen chairs, in good condition that could be used with a drop leaf table that I gave my son. The table is 60 inches round when both drop leaves are up, and with the extra leaf in,  it becomes a 72 inch table. The chairs that came with the set were big captain chairs and took up too much space. I poked around in the store and I came across the chairs in the photo below for $14.99 each. I inspected the 4 chairs and all of them were solid and in good shape and better still..I liked them. I took the price tags from the chairs and headed to the register to check out. I was so glad that I decided to stop.
 kitchen chair rock maple for steve and robin2 kitchen chair rock maple for steve and robin1
On the way home I stopped at Steven and Robin's to see if she liked/wanted the chairs..she loved them. The chairs just need a good cleaning and polishing. The chairs look good in the old farmhouse where my dad was born.

When out and about last week, I stopped at a local charity thrift shop and when I was in one of the dark trailer storage bodies I found an old Domestic treadle sewing machine that had a $100 price tag on it. I had to move some things around  and take items off of the machine to get a better look at the machine. Wish I had been able to get a better look to find the serial number of this machine to find out when it was made.
While I was looking at the machine one of the workers came over and told me he could give me a very good I asked what that would be...$40.oo. This machine had a fiddle base, coffin top, and is a vibrating shuttle Domestic. I didn't buy room for another treadle. Below are a few photos that I took with my phone..sorry they are dark, but the lighting in the trailer wasn't good. The wheel turned, it needed a new belt and the table needed lots of TLC.
Domestic treadle sewing machine box cover10.2013 coffin top Domestic vibrating shuttle treadle sewing machine
Domestic treadle sewing machine and table 10.2013
Domestic treadle sewing machine attachments in drawer10.2013 attachments in one of the drawers with a few long bobbins
Domestic treadle sewing machine table10.2013 lovely legs and treadle , 4 drawers
Domestic treadle sewing machine fiddlebase sewing machine10.2013 Fiddle base machine with long bobbin on bobbin winder. Click on the photos to enlarge them for a closer look.

Below are some random photos that I've taken recently.

I saw several noisy crows the other day in a grass median strip near Michael's craft store. The crows were busy pecking and tossing hunks of grass. The crows would cock their heads to the side, listening. I guess they were looking for grubs to eat. The crows were moving and tossing the dried grass pieces so fast I was lucky to get a photo, which by the way I took thru the windshield of my car while I watching them.
.crow in grass1 crow in grass2

Sassafras tree fall foliage near the cranberry bogs.
cranberry harvest 10.3.13 sassafrass trees at farm cranberry harvest 10.3.13 sassafrass leaves at farm

Oh, and if I didn't already have enough are 2 photos of a most lovable, stray, male that I have been feeding outside for months. I've named him Smokey. This afternoon I put a dose of Frontline on him. I am seriously thinking about taking him to be neutered at the vets and keep him. I feel bad as he cries to come inside the house. I believe at one time he belonged to someone and he was dropped off somewhere nearby.  Smokey is around the yard most of the day and then heads towards the wood at dusk. I'd love to find a nice home for this good boy, but in the long run...what's one more cat. (LOL)
smokey kitty in driveway2..10.2013
smokey kitty in driveway1..10.2013

stray kitties in the window 10.18.13 4 of my 6 rescued kitties
bird watching looking out through the screen window in the bedroom. As I was leaving the house I saw the kitties looking out. I stopped the car, rolled down my window, and took a photo. Aren't they cute? They love bird watching.

Strange Hen eggs

My youngest son, Steven has about 30 chickens. A few young roosters that were given to him, but the majority are hens. The chickens are mostly young birds that are just starting to lay eggs. My son recently moved to my grandfather's house, and so the chickens also made the move. The chickens are free range during the day. One young bird, he doesn't know which one has  laid a couple of very large, more duck sized eggs. The shells are heavily wrinkled and bumpy. When the egg is cracked open, he has found an egg within an egg. I had never seen anything like that before, have you? So weird.
egg within an egg1first time it happened...when the outer shell was cracked open it not only a egg and white, but another perfectly formed egg inside the big eggshell.
   egg within an egg shell 3egg within an egg that also had a yolk and white

A few weeks back while I was visiting Steven he found another big egg in one of the nest boxes in the hen house. (photo is below)
wrinkled egg shell stevens chicken egg
When Steven cracked open this egg, he found another egg within an egg, only the outer shell was empty this yolk or white, but the egg inside was normal.
      Some interesting web sites dealing with egg problems , egg oddities
Just thought I would share this, because I found it strange but fascinating.

When I go to Steven's several of the chickens come running over to the car cackling to greet me and will follow me to the kitchen steps. Here are just a few of Steven's chickens. Steven has several different breeds of chickens. I love going into the hen house to gather eggs. I had to laugh when he first told me he was going to get chickens because he doesn't eat eggs.
stevens chickens an old out building at my grandfather's house and in the back of the building what was the wood shed, Steven has made into a chicken coop. The coops white door is open.
chickens stevens 10.14.13