Friday, March 30, 2012

Smells like home

One of the best recollections I have as a kid growing up in Texas was walking into the house after school to the great aroma of cookies, warm from the oven. My mom is/ was a great cook and I have wonderful memories of her in the kitchen loving us with her display of baked goods for dessert, roasted meats for Sunday supper and huge country breakfasts that would make Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie feel like a slackard . (A lot of people think that loving your family with food promotes childhood obesity. But I can tell you that none of my brothers and sisters were obese or even pudgy during childhood. We were all long and lanky, well, except for Margaret. She was short and lanky.....sorry Margy! I love you! Any subsequent chubbiness on my part, was adult onset and was completely due to subsequent increase in the afore mentioned cookies, brownies, pie.... ) Now here I am, 20 years later, carrying on the tradition of loving my kids with good food, too.

Our weather is chilly, rainy and a bit dreary. And today starts spring break! A whole week of nothing to do but sleep and eat and play and eat and watch movies and eat and maybe visit Grandma and eat......

So I'm whipping up a double batch of "the world's best brownies" other wise known as "Lunch Box Brownies" that I blogged about almost two years ago (to the day.....or I guess I should say to the month since I'm a month and seven days off).

I have made these brownies many times. They are a family favorite and they are almost always gone with in minutes from the oven. I often have to hide them from the kids.

I can hear my sweet middle son now:

Luke- "I love you Mom" (walking up, giving me a big hug while looking around for the source of the good smell behind my back).

"Have I told you how much I love you?"

"Do I smell brownies?"

And so it goes until I give up the hiding place or he scouts them out himself.

Brownies. It definitely smells like home here tonight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's early spring here in Montana.

We often see animals out cruising the fields in the early spring that we don't even get glimpses of except this time of year.

Coyotes are not an uncommon sight, but we don't usually see them in our pastures except in the early spring. The big carnivors are stalking voles and mice and anyother little morsel they can find to feed their bellies this time of year.

I know that they are hungry after a long winter and they are just doing what coyotes do. They haven't bothered our livestock but they still make me kind of nervous.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sweet rain

It's a warm-ish rainy evening; 47 degrees. And on the drive home from school, my sweet daughter wistfully commented on how she would love to do something, ANYTHING that didn't have to do with school, or deadlines, or projects before it got dark. So when we got home, she tied on her hiking boots, grabbed a bit of kibble treats for the red puppy and ventured out for the woods next to the house.

(See the slash pile in the background? It's waiting for "the big burn".)

She's really in her element in the forest.

Plus, she loves the rain.

She'll feel better when she comes home.

The woods in the rain always makes life better.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Prom night

How did this:

Grow into this:

Makes a mother proud.

The winter we didn't have

This has not been the winter that last year was or what was predicted. We were expecting another big, long, snowy winter but here we are the 4th day of spring and (almost) no snow! The weather has been throwing little temper tantrums. She's not done with us yet. We've had more snow in the past week than we've had all winter. It snows in the morning, then melts by afternoon.
My kids are happy when it melts. It seems that after about the first of March, baseball begins to haunt the brains of 13 and 14 year old boys and no longer should snow occupy the fields and pastures where they could be playing ball.

Well, they just have to be patient. It won't be long now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

And now back to our regulary scheduled program...

Tonight's supper will be the ever loved BEANS.

Slow cooked beans in the crock pot, smothered with onions and dehydrated Swiss chard with a big ol'fat ham bone (with lots of ham meat clinging to it) just plopped down among them......mmmmm. Nothing better than the smell of cooking beans on a cold, almost winters day.
The aroma reminds me of growing up in Texas. My grandmother always seemed to have a pot of beans bubbling on the back burner in her warm, little kitchen. Our house is fragrant with my memories.

These are actually buckskin beans (which I have never heard of but a friend of mine gave me these and we are eating them, by golly!) They taste great and better than that, the beans we don't eat we are able to plant this spring and have them as part of our sustainable food stash. I have saved back about 3 pounds of the huge pile that we were given to put in the garden come warmer weather.

Along with the beans is a pan of apple dumplings.

We have only one more 20 pound box of apples left in our food storage area (IE: a coolish spot in the garage) and some of those are starting to show their age....a little too wrinkled for out of hand eating. So these apples were transformed into a wonderful dessert of apple dumplings. Drop a little blob of whipped cream on top and you have a dessert fit for a king....or multiple children.

There you have it.

Not a bad way to jump back into blogging after a year's sabbatical......supper!