Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Venison Steak For Dinner


 Just saying the word makes my mouth water.
  Venison is our favorite meat, and happens to be the meat we fairly live off of. 

 It always perplexes me when folks get a deer, then go to the work of butchering it,
then it sits in the freezer all winter while they buy meat at the store to feed their family.
  We LOVE venison!
  Our family brings in 5 or 6 deer a season,
 keeping us in meat so that we may eat venison three times a week, rarely having beef.
After living this way for years and years our kids think beef is weird. 
 They say it has a funny taste to it. 


Although I interchange  ground venison for ground beef in any recipe,
(and guests never know)
 there are a few special recipes in which we especially love our venison. 
 On the top of the list is something we call "Schaffer Steak".  

You see, years ago Mr and Mrs Schaffer came over to our house one night,
 bringing dinner in a great big covered dish. 
 This was his steak recipe, served over mashed potatoes. 
 Everyone loved it, and it became a family favorite.
It is really the simplest of recipes,
 the kind grandma used to make, now  largely forgotten in our complex culture of "fine food."

Although you sure could make this with beef steak, 
please, Oh please, don't waste your good venison...get it out of the freezer and try this!

Schaffer Steak

1. Get a skillet good and hot, then sear your steaks on both sides,
adding salt and pepper as they briefly cook. 

 2. Once seared, put them in a heavy covered dish, like a dutch oven, or your crock pot.
These happen to be backstrap, a very tender boneless medallion steak.

3. Next, make a cream sauce in the skillet using the steak drippings. 
 A cream sauce is simply an equal portion of butter to flour,
 then milk added to make it the desired thickness, 
all over a medium heat, then seasoned to taste. 

 Or, if you like, you can just use a few cans of cream of mushroom soup.

4. Pour the cream sauce over the meat and cook slowly for three or more hours.
The meat will be very tender, the kind you can cut with a fork. 
The meat and gravy is great over veggies, potatoes, or noodles.

The children are just coming in from outside and asking what's for dinner...
"MMMMM smells GOOD!!!"  they say.
  "It is Schaffer Steak," I reply. 
 Shouts of hurrahs and hugs abound...I am not kidding...
it is that good...
...and we really like our venison.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Idaho to Africa!

Well, she's gone. 
 Our dear Rose and her sweet friend, Brenna are in route as I write.
  From Idaho, to Seattle, to Amsterdam, to Entebbe, to Jinja.  
It is about a 25 hour plane trip to Uganda, Africa where they will spend the next three weeks
 ministering with some very dear folks, Paul and Pam Hunter of Next Generation ministries. 
 I'm stealing some photos from Rose's blog....but better yet,
 I hope you wander your way over there and see for yourself what God is doing 
in this young ladies heart!  
I am so excited for Rose and Brenna, but I am going to miss Rose dearly! 
She is such a vibrant soul...I will be missing all the laughs and great talks, 
 the singing together and being together.

Meanwhile, I am preparing for our annual women's retreat, 
where I will be sharing the weekend with around 30 other ladies, and, 
I will be speaking for two of the four sessions. 
 You know, the great thing about preparing a lesson to share, is that in the preparation, 
God does amazing things in my own heart!  
So it is really a blessing to be the speaker, and thus, because of my new found, AHA! moments,
 I am so excited and eager for the retreat!!

I will be leaving the children home with daddy for part of the time,
 and Joe will be in charge while daddy is at work. 
 Joe is quite a kid magnet, like his daddy...and very responsible almost 16 year old, 
so no worries there.
  However, the two littles are sick again with a croupy kind of cough, congestion,
 and Olivia has a fever.  
 Ten years ago I never would have left the children for two and a half days, 
but older now, and hopefully wiser, I am much more relaxed with them and laid back. 
 They will be in good hands...I need not be a control freak and mother them every second,
 and...God sees us in all we do, He sees our good intentions, 
our motives to get away now and then for some intimate time with Him and other women..
..and I have faith that He will be watching over them with greater care than I would. 

So, I WILL myself not to worry over them.  Or Rose and Brenna, their luggage...
...and all that a mama's mind can conjure up in the middle of the night 
when one of her babies is on the other side of the world.


He will be watching over them.

Uh, Oh, that did it.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Necessity of Afternoon Tea

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
 for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home."
- Dame Edith Sitwell

I like this quote, but I think I could replace "winter" with "teatime."

Teatime is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for talk beside the fire;
 it is the time for home.

 Yes, that suits just fine.

My favorite part of the  day comes around 2:30 every afternoon. 
 It is that of tea time at our home. 
 The children most likely have been rambling about the woods, 
and are glad for a warming cup of goodness,
 followed by some sort of treat to keep the famished over until dinner.

This tradition, I unabashedly admit,
 I stole from my dear friend, Enola Gay, 
whose home life has inspired me so much over the years we have been friends. 

 Tea time is more for the soul than the goodies,
 although goodies are always appreciated,
like these light Honey Lemon Tea cakes Jim baked up.

Our family has a few favorite herbal teas and a few black teas in which we savor.
  Sometimes we make a pot, other times we each pick our own bagged variety.
Sometimes we make special lovely treats, and sometimes we just share fresh fruit.

  Either way, afternoon tea set by our fireside,
 especially on days like today,
 when the rain and snow mix is pouring down amid occasional gusts of a cold wind, 
bring together all of my favorite aspects of the season...
the warmth of curling up by the fire, 
the aroma of a good tea  (such as Evening In Missoula or Market Spice),
 the children's chatter about their adventures, 
the sharing of our plans for the evening, 
the coziness of candles lit just for tea time. all speaks to me- warms my heart,
 which in turn, encourages me to soldier on through the second half of the day.

 So, you see, 
Tea Time is of quite a necessity!

Honey Lemon Tea Cakes

1/3 c. soft butter
1/2 c. honey
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix well.  Pour into greased muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Top with 2 Tbsp butter and a sprinkling of sugar.
Cool in Frig before serving.

Enjoy with friendly hearts and a fine cup of tea!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Life at the Lodge Last Week

Last week went by in a is why:

The new goat babies are here...
Marshall and Moses joined little Mabel in the goat pen last week, 
They are just her size, only she is two weeks older. 
 Rose had to play midwife and pull both of these babies,
 who are doing very well along with their mama.  

Aren't they adorable??
  We will be rich in goat milk in a few short weeks.

Besides playing and gentling these cuties, we have been doing some big cooking.

I enjoy cooking and hospitality. 
 Here is one way that I serve in the church body with these gifts:

Every Wednesday, I cook dinner for about 30 people
 who come to our "Family Fellowship" night at the church. 
 Last week, we ( myself and with the children's help)  oven fried 20 lbs of chicken,
according to my dear friend, Enola Gay's recipe, 
and oh, was it good!!! 
 Enola is a very good cook who has her own cookbook. 
 I highly recommend it.  
We served the chicken with baked potatoes, and,
having bought the chicken (thighs) on sale,
 the total cost was approximately $2.00/person,
just so you know, 
if you are planning on cooking for a crowd soon.


 There were many raves over the chicken, so it was a big success.  But, then...

Toward the end of the week, the family began coming down with INFLUENZA B. 
 This we have been battling with home remedies with some success.  
 Oil of Oregano, taken in the early stages of illness worked very well on three of us. 
 Grandma Gladys had a special recipe for cough syrup-one of those hillbilly potions-  
implemented at night that always works well...but ICK!!
  Perhaps it is the nastiness of the syrup that motivates one to get well real quick?!  :-)
 Then, giving comfort is Vicks on the chest, honey lemon tea throughout the day,
as well as Immune Booster tea
and lots of rest are the natural treatments we have used. 
 The poor littles have just slept and slept...
here, there, and everywhere!

 The stealth napper...

the burrito style napper...

I find them to be adorable --illness and all!
Today is our first day up and at em. 
My, but it feels good!

 The pouring rain outside makes it feel like a great day for tea...
(but then, every day is a great day for tea in my book)
 and extra reading to catch up from a week lost to illness..
..maybe some board games as well.  

If you're of a mind to wander across the visit our daughter Anna here...
..she's a resourceful, sweet, gem making a lovely home life for her wonderful hubby in NM
 and expecting a baby in June...
and our vivacious, beautiful days from departing for Africa again...
she is so excited and will tell you all about  the ministry opportunities awaiting.
I know you will be blessed by both of these blogs.

Wishing you well...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Birthday Blessings

Benjamin Creed

March is a big birthday month in our family.  
I counted six birthdays in the extended family.
After putting up the crepe paper, balloons and birthday banner, 
we started fixing pizzas for the 20 some guests, mostly family.
  Rose and Joe are the main pizza chefs. 
 Joe prepared his specialty:  BBQ chicken pizza, 
Rose made the Pepperoni, and we all worked on the Jalapeno Popper Pizza, 
which we copied from Anna, who had just tried it the week before with great success.

 When the food was ready,
 Daddy prayed a special blessing on the birthday boy, Ben, who is turning 11 years old.

 After dinner-- cake, of course...except our boy wanted banana splits instead,
 so we put his candles in his ice cream.  
He was quite pleased with it.

Long ago we started a tradition of giving the same gifts to each boy at a certain age.
  This has worked very well...and the children look forward 
to the day they will be old enough to get  ______, as if it has become a right of passage.
 It also keeps things fair.
Once our boys are nine, 
we leave toys behind and enter the age of tools that will last, hopefully, a lifetime.

When they turn nine, we give them a foot locker.
 At ten, they get their first pocket knife.
  At eleven, a hatchet.
  For twelve they get a hunting knife.  
Thirteen, a .22,
 and fourteen- a gift especially for their particular interests.
 Fifteen- a fishing vest. 
 When sixteen, they receive  a dinner date with parents, with a "becoming a man ceremony".
 Seventeen, a tool kit for a car,
  And eighteen, a "senior trip" with daddy.

We have a whole different list for girls, but that will be told another time.
Here, you can see, 
that this little woodsman is happy as can be to have yet more camo and a fishing net,
 gifts from grandparents. 

After stuffing ourselves with pizza AND banana splits,
 enjoying all the company...which somehow consistently includes a dress up party for the little girls  (always amusing), opening presents, visiting some more...
...and the guests have left...sigh...
we settled the children down and read a few more chapters in Little House On Plum Creek 
before tucking them in, then seeking our own happy slumbering place.

  Another birthday.. more year added to the many years we have been blessed with our children. 
 Each one has their own gifts and talents, bents, and love language.
 Each one so unique, so precious in their own way,
 and  yes, challenging in their own way.
 Yet each one, certainly a reward (Psalm 127).

 We concluded the day feeling overly full and abundantly blessed..
...the perfect ending for a birthday.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Babies Are Here!

If you are a homesteader, 
you know that when the coldest weather strikes,
 your animals will choose that particular time to birth. 
 Animals are just that way. 
 So, with lows in the teens and even colder nights coming this week,
 our does are due.

  Checking them several times a day, 
we were very surprised to find...on our afternoon check, 
the first kid born-  already standing and doing well, 
despite it being the smallest goat kid we have ever had. 
 She is literally smaller than our cats. 

 Rose named her Mabel, which means "lovable."

So here is Mabel!

Yes, she has a sweater on.
  I have often thought about making baby goat blankets,
 but having never gotten around to it, we just dug through the "newborn" tote in the attic
 till we came up with something warm looking.
 The code of the ruralite, you know, is Observe, Adapt, and Improvise.  (O.A.I.)

Mabel and her mama are strong and healthy, which is certainly a blessing with a first time mama. 
 To keep this tiny one warm,
 and the other kids that will soon arrive as well, 
Joe and Rose turned a plastic barrel into a warming coop. 
 Here is the reason I said kids, as in plural...this doe surely has more than one in there!

Here is the warming coop.
There is a heat lamp set into the top of the barrel. 

 Thankfully, our solar panels are soaking up all this sunny weather-
 thus powering both this heat lamp and the one for the chicken's water.  
 In cloudy weather, (normal for this time of year) we would be hard put to accommodate the output of power without running the generator much more than we typically do.
We are doubly blessed with a safe birth and sun power to keep baby warm.

But wait, that is not all!!!
Besides our tiniest goat baby, Mabel,
 our ADORABLE grand daughter, Shiloh, is here for the weekend!!!

Oh those cute little chompers!  
OOOO and the dimpled hands! 
SOOO sweet!!!
Grandma is having a fantastic time of it!

Of course, everyone wants to hug and kiss and squeeze her, or make her laugh. 
 Shiloh seems to be enjoying being the center of attention. 
 She is such a people person. 

Between the two babies,
 there is a whole lot of laughing and cuddling being done here this weekend.

Blessings to ya' all this weekend,
the giddy grandma

Friday, February 13, 2015

Little Luxuries of Winter

Somehow, in the heart of winter, 
our "January thaw" has lingered on for weeks and weeks, 
an unheard of predicament for North Idaho...the newspaper just reported  that never
 in the historical records has the snowfall here been so low, or the typical "thaw" lasted so long.
While it is lovely out, agrarian folks like us are concerned about the "snow pack" in the mountains that provides us with plenty of water all summer- 
which keeps the landscape a lovely green right into fall, 
and more importantly, minimizes the danger of forest fire.

But, that said, we concur with "Pa" 
(from the Little House series, which we are currently rereading aloud) 
"There is no great loss without some small gain."
These small gains are the blessings of today, 
our little luxuries of winter, such as it is.

 The wood pile blessing:  Our initial 10 cord is holding up well.  This, by the way, is the shed we built last summer, of which, I never did post the finished pictures of, till now.

Egg production blessing:  Ben's hens are so happy with the weather, they have not sloughed off in their laying at all thus far.  He is in business now; selling eggs, purchasing the feed, keeping records daily.  He is very proud of a regular dozen a day.

Blessings In The Dairy:  These two are due to kid in a few weeks.  If the mild weather holds, that will be beneficial for the tiny newborns, giving them a little easier start in life.  Meanwhile, the does are looking especially well and plump.

Blessings For The Children:  They are fully appreciating sunshine and warm temperatures each afternoon as they ramble off to play in the woods.  Yesterday their play was near the creek-

 Today, they are homesteaders-

For me, the soothing continuity of our daily routine, 
curling up by the fire with a fragrant cup of tea,  
the sun shining through the windows,
 these are a few of the blessings I am counting today,

 my little luxuries of winter.

What are yours?