Friday, April 21, 2017

Mishaps in the Farm Kitchen

This post is inspired by a prompt at Mama's Losin' It,
 "Mistakes in the Kitchen".

Oh, those yummy biscuits!

photo credit Pixabay
I pulled out of the oven the most delectable biscuits I had ever made. They were and browned to perfection.  I couldn't wait to serve them with supper. I had made biscuits a few times before, though we were a canned biscuit family for the most part.

But on this particular day, I made from scratch these lovely baking soda powder biscuits. They looked delicious, but that turned out to be as far as it went.

We all gathered for supper. 

Hungry, I am sure since we are talking about farm folks here. So after a short blessing, we all filled our plates and began to eat.

I'm not sure who was the first to bite into a biscuit, but what a surprise! A bitter aftertaste that sucked your lips in leaving you wondering if there might be a lemon in your biscuit.

No. Not lemons, but how about BAKING SODA.

Yes. Unfortunately, I had used BAKING SODA instead of BAKING POWDER. It really makes quite a difference.

Now I was the baker in the family and THIS was out of character for me. It will definitely go down as an unforgettable event in our family.

In My Defense

I'm not the only one who had a mishap in the kitchen.

Photo credit: Pillsbury
I recall my younger brother and sister Easy Cheesy Lemon Bars. These never made it to the table due to the dough tasting ritual in our family.
(not to name names, Alex and Marcy) taking a turn at

Yes, it wasn't long into the process until they realized that they had put 1/2 CUP of salt into the mixture instead of 1/2 cup of SUGAR!

Mom did the math to see how many times we would need to double the recipe. It was such a large number. I think we would still be eating lemon bars!

That dough went into the trash!

Moral of the story
God gives us the recipe for a godly life, if we don't follow the recipe to the letter, we may end up with a bad taste in our mouth. Follow God's law and you will "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" Psalm 34:8

What about you?
Any kitchen mishaps on your part?

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Another Lesson from the Farm

This post is inspired by a prompt in the journal, "Reflections of a Mother's Heart". The Prompt: Did you ever have a special hideaway?"
 Each year, the challenge was different.

Once the hay was all in the barns, each of us would take the challenge. Somewhere in the huge stack of fresh hay bales was a tunnel. Not just a straight tunnel through the hay, but one that took various turns. Left. Right. Up. Down. Once, I remember a rather large opening in the middle.

It was a specialty of my brother Doug. He stacked the hay and created the tunnels. Not sure what got him started doing it. Maybe just for a challenge to change up the doldrums of stacking bale after bale in order. Or maybe the loft was just that much too large. All I know is that we enjoyed finding our way through.

Speaking of stacking bale after bale

I'm reminded that Doug took a lot of pride in stacking the most square and orderly wagon of hay. Back in the day, hay was not rolled up in a huge ball and left in the fields. It was baled into a rectangle. Some farms had a bale thrower which baled the hay and then threw the bales into a wagon. 

But on our farm
Wagon built by Dad & brother
maybe others

The bales were carefully stacked on the wagon usually by Doug. I laugh thinking about the times we hired some high school boy to come out and stack the hay. Those wagon loads were a sight to see. And many times, they didn't make it back to the barn before the hay was falling in every direction on the road.

Anyway, Doug took real pride in having an orderly load of hay, stacked nice and tight. They only thing that kept this from happening was ... uh, the driver which was usually Kandy or me. :(

Picture This

Doug takes the bale from the baler, carries it to the already stacked hay, and lifts the bale above his head to toss it up on the top row. About this time, there is a large clump of hay being baled, the driver realizes she must slow down or the baler will shear a pin due to too much hay at one time. So she puts her foot on the break. This causes a chain reaction. You know, 

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction."

Since Doug is focused completely on tossing the bale up and back, he has no idea that the train of equipment is stopping.... uh, maybe somewhat abruptly. I think you know the result.

Usually, he wasn't all that happy with me,  I mean, whoever was driving. But the result was really six to one, half a dozen to the other. Because he didn't get happy over a sheared pin either.
And either probably resulted in extra work.

But regardless, we got the job done. 

And most of the time we drove into the barnyard with a beautifully stacked wagon of hay. 

I'm not sure who or how Doug was trained, but there was certainly an example set before him. It may have been Uncle George. Here is a picture of him and my big sister climbing one of those lovely wagons of hay. 

Climbing the Hay Wagon
Climbing the Hay Wagon
Doug and Kandy 1962

Lesson Learned

1 Corinthians 14:40(NLT)  be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

Whatever you do should be done properly. If you do it well the first time, you don't have to go back a correct the problem. If hay is stacked haphazardly, it usually will fall causing a huge clean-up job and lost time.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT) whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Take pride in what you do. Wether you enjoy doing it or not. Whatever work you are doing, do it as if you are working for the Lord.

Just another lesson from being "Raised in a Barn"

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Farm Trucks, Close Calls and Prayers

I have been working on a series of devotionals and was reminded of an incident from the farm that went along with a point I was making. I couldn't remember all the details, though. Since the incident involved my sister, Kandy, I asked her to fill in the gaps for me. She did that and more, thanking me for bringing back to mind such a traumatic moment in her life! :)

Can't miss the opportunity to share with you what she shared with me!

Photo by Wisconsin Historical Society
not our truck, but it may have looked kinda like this

Undesired Chores

Dad had an arrangement with the cheese factory where we sent out milk to haul whey for the cattle. It was fed as a nutrition supplement. He had acquired an old milk truck with a tank in order to pick it up. It was my unfortunate duty to occasionally go pick up the whey. There were actually 2 instances where I was clearly protected by God from disaster.

In order to funnel the whey into the truck, I had to pull alongside the building where the large whey tank was located. The driveway sloped down to the end of the building where there was a cross-street, then a short grassy bank into a small river.

Traumatic Instance #1

I always set the parking brake, of course. But on this day, after I was done loading and back in the truck with the motor running, I noticed that the spigot from the tank was dripping. So I hopped out to turn the faucet tighter.

Oh, I neglected to mention that my little brother, LeAdam, had come along for the ride.

From the corner of my eye, I noticed the truck moving. As I turned back toward the truck, I took several steps, jumped up on the running board, and slammed my foot on the brake. I stopped mere inches from the river bank.

All I could see in front of me was water. 

I shifted carefully into reverse, and quickly backed up the slope. LeAdam sat there with his eyes wide open!

I also narrowly missed a school bus that had just passed - the driver stopped to see if I was ok.


Traumatic Instance #2

Another time while driving home from picking up whey, I came upon a railroad crossing in town where there were no lights or flashing lights. 

I must have been daydreaming because all of a sudden I heard a loud sound, and realized a train was coming. If i hadn't stopped, I would not have made it across the tracks.

So there it is. The sordid tale.

Thanks for bringing up that terrifying moment! Ha!

-Gettin' Back to my Roots

Anytime, Sis! You can always count on a sister to remind of times you would rather forget!

The point of dredging up this scary moment in time is to talk about the prayerfulness of our mother. If there was ever a prayer warrior, it would be her. The day of the second story mentioned above, Mom had a premonition while washing the dishes. A concern for Kandy.

Immediately, she stopped what she was doing and began to pray. It was quite a shock to hear Kandy's story when she arrived home.

The Moral of this story:
When prompted to pray,
stop immediately and pray!

If you are interested in my devotionals, you can receive one twice a week by e-mail. Just click on the purple box along the right side of this blog, "Oh Lord, How Long?"
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Recipes: Surprise Cupcakes

Surprise Cup Cakes

Being raised on a farm comes with many advantages, one of these was learning to cook and bake. I learned to bake early in life so when I entered junior high and ended up being required to take Home Ec twice, I wasn't that happy about it.

One thing I did take home from that class was a recipe from my best friend, Martha. One day in class, she demonstrated making surprise cupcakes which have been a favorite at home on the farm, at college, and with my own children.

These cupcakes were quite popular with my friends in the dorm and I made them often. Several friends wanted the recipe, I refused to share it until graduation day. And true to my promise, I wrote out the recipe and passed them out to all my friends on graduation day.

Thanks, Martha, for some great fun and tradition down through the years!

And here it is ... Surprise Cupcakes.

1 package of Chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese
1/3c. sugar
1 egg
dash of salt
1 c. chocolate chips  (or peanut butter chips)

  1. Mix chocolate cake as directed less 1 TBS of liquid.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, egg, and salt
  3. Add chips.
  4. Fill baking cups to no more than 2/3 full.
  5. Using a teaspoon, add cheese filling to the center of the cupcake taking care to not allow filling to touch the sides.
  6. The cake batter will rise up around the filling so there is no need to add cake mix on top.
  7. Bake using the directions from the cake mix.
  8. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Note: I have also used my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe instead of a boxed cake mix.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Grandma Easterday's Devil's Food Cake

Zoa Easterday, 1890Carrol Co., Ohio

Devil's Food Cake

Mix together and set aside.

1/2 c. Cocoa or 4oz bakers chocolate2 tsp baking soda1/2 c. boiling water

In a separate bowl, mix in order

3/4 c. sour milk
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. minus 1 T. shortening to grease pan.
1 Tbs vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Chocolate mixture (above)

Grease & flour 9x13 pan.

Pour batter into pan 

Bake at 350 degrees 

for 35-45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Play is the Work of Childhood

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. 
Play is really the work of childhood.
- Fred Rogers

There were 6 of us children ranging across 16 years when I was growing up on the farm. My brother, Leadam is the youngest. I was nearly 12 when he was born. In a lot of ways, I watched him grow up rather than growing up with him.

My sister and I were in junior high and high school when Le was playing hard in the back yard.He had his trucks and tractors and spent many hours "bringing in the crops". This was a common event because he just followed suite for what dad and the older siblings did so often.

I didn't really think much about what children play until one day when Kandy came home with a funny story. She had a friend that lived in town. This friend also happened to have a small brother. On this particular day, Kandy was in town and say little Danny playing in the dirt. She asked him, "what are you doing today?"

Expecting something like "Baling hay!" she was a little surprised to hear him say matter-of-factly, " .. putting in sewer lines." It had never really crossed our minds that a town kid would play differently than the farm kid. It's the whole "Like Father, Like son" idiom.

Now I wasn't one to play with trucks and tractors, I was more of a mommy type. I can remember dressing the cat and pushing it around in my baby buggy. I'm not sure why the cat put up with that!

I loved the animals too. Especially the young stock. We had a small fenced in pasture for the calves just off the back yard. There was a fallen tree which created for us a small cove that we used as a show ring.

Our family participated in several cattle shows every summer. We selected the best two or three cows, cleaned them up, trained them to be on a halter and took them to shows. Alex and I, along with our friends,, would have our own little cattle shows back in the cove. We spruced up the calves and paraded them around in a circle while one of us did the judging.

Mr. Fred Rogers was evidently right. Our play was serious learning time. We all ended up doing well at the county fair and other cattle shows around the state. I even won a 4-H cattle judging competition once!

This post was  inspired by a writing prompt in "Reflections from a Mother's Heart". The prompt was "What was your favorite pastime as a child? Did you prefer to do it alone or with someone else."

Photos from Columbia County Fair in Portage, WI 1976

Doug & Kandy

Alex ~ 1st in showmanship
Me with my cow, Marietta

What was your favorite pastime growing up?

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