Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Writing, Writing, Writing

I've been working on my writing class assignments all day. You can find out more about the class here. I'm loving it--everything I'm learning, the people I'm meeting, the story I'm creating. I'm really liking the person my protagonist Violet is becoming, and promise to share more about her in the future. Today, I leave you with last nights peaceful sunset...
...enjoy!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Time Out for Onearm

As you now know, we experience a lot of joy with our wild family pet Onearm, the red squirrel who lost an arm. I wrote about her yesterday, marveling at her tenacity. Today I found myself irritated with the little darling.





I had followed my usual morning routine, sprinkling her breakfast sunflower seeds on the deck rail and watching her dine while protecting her vittles. Later, I was working at my computer in front of the living room windows, speaking to a Google representative on my cell phone that was clamped between my ear and shoulder. He was helping me resolve a blog domain name renewal problem I was having (I'm relieved the situation was resolved) and I had to stay focused on his instructions.

That's when I noticed her. Onearm was chewing my canvas swing! I had moved it from its hook to keep it from billowing in the gusty winds and laid it across one of the nearby rockers. She scampered from one end to the other, gnawing on sections of material as she went. I watch in dismay, but I figured I'd go take a look when I was done with Google.
I love my swing. It hangs in the corner of the porch year round, except when it's gusty and I move it to the rocker until the wind dies down. I sit in it often, daydreaming while I gaze at this view while swinging.

When my blog's domain issue was finally resolved, I went to take a look. I was shocked--she didn't just nibble--she tore the thing up! The entire canvas is riddled with holes and tears like these...

Of course, by the time I got out there she was long gone, though I'm quite sure no matter what I might have said, it would have meant zilch, zero, nada to her. I've put that swing on that rocker many-a-time and she's never chomped on it before...it made me wonder if she's working on building a nest. I put my swing back onto it's hook (wind or no wind, she won't have another opportunity to chow down on it) and gave her a towel of her very own. 
I don't know if she'll use it, but I did put a few seeds in it to make it more attractive (I'll let you know if she "takes the bait"). Only time will tell. Ah, what can I say, all in a day!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Survival Of The Fittest

I was watching Onearm chow on the sunflower seeds I left for her this morning. We have three or four of these red squirrels that come around for seeds, but I usually make funny sounds while waving my arms at them to shoo them away. Today, my efforts weren't necessary, because our little Onearm did it for me.  The Rascal tried to sneak up on her...
...but she wasn't in a sharing mood...
 ...and when The Rascal tried to sneak up...
...Onearm responded (if you receive this post via email you may need to click on the title and go to my web page to view it)...
video

Survival of the fittest--watching her is fascinating!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mother Nature's Canvas

Our mountain view was overshadowed by a beautiful cloud sea this morning...

...that danced into ribbons...

...and eventually drifted away, leaving feathery wisps behind...
...and the illusion of fog shrouded mountains beyond the peaks we usually see.

Our view was Mother Nature's canvas today.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Orange Marmalade, Part 2

I'm excited, my first marmalade is a success! It's tangy and sweet, just like the European marmalade Mountain Man remembers.

I completed step 1 yesterday, click on this link to get the directions for preparing the fruit.

Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:
1 quart thinly sliced orange peel (about 6 large)
1 quart orange slices, cut (about 6 large)
1 quart thinly sliced oranges with peel (about 6 small)
2 cups thinly sliced Meyers lemons (2 large)
2 1/4 cups water
Sugar, about 9 cups (equal amount sugar to fruit mixture on day 2)

Directions (continued from yesterday):
After the fruit has rested overnight, you are ready to make the marmalade.

Have your cleaned, sterilized jars staying warm in a low heat oven. Put the seals and rings in a pan of water on low. This keeps both the jar and lid clean and hot (important for a good seal).

Cook the mixture, uncovered over medium high heat for about 1 hour. 

Measure the fruit and liquid.
 I ended up with 14 cups (much more than I expected).
I added 14 cups of sugar (it should equal the amount of day #2's cooked fruit mixture).

 You will see the mixture thicken up right away.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring periodically. The mixture will foam quite a bit; be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn't overflow.

Boil the marmalade until it passes the spoon test test, at least 25 minutes. I chose to stop cooking at the 25 minute mark even though the mixture seemed a little thin--my last couple batches of jam have been quite thick, see my jam fix--I'd prefer my marmalade be too soft than too hard; at least the soft jam will come out of the jar!

Using a large mouth funnel (this is a must have tool for making jam) spoon the hot marmalade into your clean jar,
 and hand tighten the lid.
Place the jars into a covered boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude as needed).

Place the jars on a rack (I'm not showing them on the rack here, the jars on the racks were too big for a photo) in a draft free spot to cool--listen for that delightful popping sound, indicating the jars have sealed.
I put the little bit of remaining of marmalade into a bowl, this will go directly into the fridge. It made for easy tasting. As I mentioned earlier, it's quite tart, but is balanced by the sweetness--if you want a little sweeter marmalade use a little more sugar and cut some of the pith (white stuff) off the peel, it can be bitter.

Looks pretty, doesn't it?

For more interesting recipes visit Homestead Barn Hop, A Bright and Beautiful Life and Flour Me With Love.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Orange Marmalade, Part 1

I had a bag full of fresh Florida oranges a friend gave us. Sweet, juicy goodness. I also have two bags full of fresh mandarins from the tree at our river place. There's so many that it'll be impossible to eat them all in this fresh state, either peeled slices or quartered chunks. So today I'm making my first orange marmalade (ever), using the Ball Blue Book recipe with a slight modification. I'll also be preserving some of those mandarins too, but that's another post--these are some of my mandarins, I forgot to take a pretty picture of my oranges!

Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:
1 quart thinly sliced orange peel (about 6 large)
1 quart orange slices, cut (about 6 large)
1 quart thinly sliced oranges with peel (about 6 small)
2 cups thinly sliced Meyers lemons (2 large)
2 1/4 cups water
Sugar, about 9 cups

Directions:
Clean the fruit by placing in a clean sink of water with about 1/4 of white vinegar. Let it sit for 15 minutes, swooshing them around periodically and using your hands to scrub them and remove any dirt, fertilizer, pesticides, etc. Remove any remaining stem buds. 
Prepare the fruit. I removed the peel by cutting it off the orange, but then found it was easier to peel it by hand. Slice the peel into thin slices, putting them into one container. Cut the pulp into chunks, removing the seeds and put the chunks and as much juice as you can into another container. 
The skin on my smaller oranges was difficult to remove, so I decided to thinly slice them whole, removing the seeds. These went into another bowl.   

Combine the fruit and water in a large pot. Heat to just before boiling and simmer for five minutes. 
 Any remaining seeds will float to the top; remove them.
Cover and let stand for 12 - 18 hours in a cool spot. My pot is still cooling; I'll be moving it into a cooler corner of the cabin to rest overnight.

I'll share the next steps of making marmalade tomorrow.  

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Fine Finale For My Tulips

I've been enjoying my Valentine's tulips tremendously. They've added a bright spot to our dining table, not only for their vivid colors but with a tenderly sweet floral scent--I didn't recall tulips had a fragrance! But alas, the lifespan for this season is coming to an end, so I decided to photograph their finale--maybe one or two will be worthy of framing.

 





 
 
 
 
 
 I'm looking forward to planting the bulbs and enjoying these beauties for years to come!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Swing Right Here--Edited

Sorry, I pushed publish instead of save, here is the completed post.

Wouldn't that be perfection? A swing sitting right in this spot where our creeks meet?

I went down to look at the creek today because we had a heavy rain last night.  I could hear the rushing water from inside--even though the windows were closed--so I knew the water was flowing beautifully. I walked around, enjoying the sights...


...and sounds.  Here's a video for your listening enjoyment (if you receive my blog posts via email you may need to click on the title of the post to go to my web page to see the video).
video
Love that sound, never tire of it!

You may notice a few subtle changes in my posts, this is the direct result of my writing class.  Girl's learning something:)

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise